The BizDev Boost Podcast Series was developed to help those of you making business connections for your own business or someone else’s to secure a commission. As a reminder, I’ve been conducting business development introductions through my own business for about 15-16 years now. My focus is impact spaces — like health, technology, education, entrepreneurship, diplomacy, and econ dev. And, there’s more, but, the primary point is that I’ve been able to work my network into some amazing opportunities.
So, let’s continue with tips and examples aimed at helping you to see the opportunities that exist in a conversation. (Remember, most of the content for this is in the podcast. Link above. This episode is about 4 minutes.)
Tip #1) Develop Gap-Finding as a Skill: Gaps are just opportunities. In a conversation, gaps are where you want to explore to find the mutual benefit. Some gaps are obvious – there’s a need and it’s not currently filled. But, in the world of business development, it quite often isn’t that obvious. There are situations that show up that require a little creativity on your part to see the opportunity. In these cases, you’ll notice something in a few minutes of conversation that will get your attention that should trigger you to explore.
In the podcast, I give you examples of what these attention-getters might be. And, I give you a recent example of what happened when I was on a call with a young nonprofit leader who had several of the right “puzzle pieces” that got my attention, but, what he needed was something he didn’t ask for because he didn’t know what to ask for. What I indicated on the podcast was that there was more to this story. You see, I didn’t hold this call with him alone. I invited a business partner. During the call, as she was asking him questions, I started to see what this young man needed and how she and I both could be of assistance. While she was talking – I was thinking. Then, the idea of a joint opportunity was formed and the proposal was delivered to the young leader. After the call, my partner and I realized this was a situation we could see arising again, and now, at least, we have a template for bringing up a winning solution for all.
Tip # 2) Notice Segues: A segue is that moment in a conversation when a party deviates dramatically from the current subject. In the case of business development, it is golden when a party you are speaking with just happens to bring up something totally unexpected as a sidebar. In a recent example, while facilitating a call between two parties who were both working to resolve the same issue but in different ways, one party brought up a business partner and the fact that he was looking to purchase a particular commodity. The only relevance to the current conversation was the geography involved. But, it moved me to grab my pen and make a note and several calls the next day. Segues or sidebars offer crazy good opportunities. Pay attention when you suddenly hear someone going in another direction with a conversation that makes you think “well, that’s odd.” Sometimes that means they’ve gotten comfortable enough with you to share something much more personal or pressing on their agenda.
That’s it for now. Be sure to listen to the podcast for “the rest of the story.” Stay up on all episodes in this series by checking the BizDev Boost Channel under the Channels Menu at the top of the page.