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27 May, 2020 Insights

5 tips for effective business development

We’ve been working with business development specialists Always Thinking to provide our members with insights into BD best practice and how to approach it at this time.

Based on the latest webinar tutorial from Always Thinking, we’ve pulled together a list of 5 top tips to remember when you’re approaching business development. Key to a successful strategy is building relationships and getting to know people – no one enjoys a hard sell!

1. Don’t pause your business development now
Many of us are unsure how to approach BD at the moment, but if you stop all activity, think about the impact this will have on Q3 and Q4. Where do you want your business to be in the future and what can you do now to get there? You can still reach out to people during lockdown – be useful and show them you’re thinking about them.

2. Understand your value
“I’m an architect/engineer – I can’t do BD”. You have knowledge and expertise you can share – that’s a great place to start from. People are looking for help, guidance and understanding at the moment. It doesn’t matter how junior you are, everyone can play a role.

3. Ask about them
The biggest mistake people make is talking about themselves. Imagine you’re on a first date – get to know prospects and develop the foundations for a future relationship. The more you research a target client and learn about their needs, the better position you’re going to be in to show them how you can work with them to meet those needs further down the line.

4. Drip feed information – the long game
It’s tempting to put all your ideas in that first email to a prospect. But then you’ll have nothing further to share. Winning a job can take years in the built environment, so you have to play the long game. You want people to want to know a bit more about you. Drip feed information as you develop the relationship.

5. Do one thing
BD can seem overwhelming if you start with a target list of 100 names. Break it down to who you really want to work with and start by doing just one thing. Write one thing. Reach out to one person. And celebrate each small success along the way as well as the larger ones – if someone responds to an email or agrees to a meeting, it’s a success!

Always Thinking is a Business Development consultancy for organisations within the built environment. They help clients look at BD differently through creative thinking. Their research-based approach encourages communication through inquisitive questioning, intelligent conversation and client-centric thinking – there is no hard sell. Visit their website: