Business development is a term that is often loosely thrown around. While the idea of business development can sound rather alluring and appealing, often people are at a loss at how to describe it, let alone achieve it. Traditionally, business development is defined as a number of tasks and processes generally aiming at developing and implementing growth opportunities between multiple areas of organizations.
In it’s simplest form – business development is the creation of organization's long-term value from customers, markets, and relationships.
The most interesting term in the description is creation. Being able to create something of value that encompasses customers, markets and relationships will require experience, guts, and a creative flare.
Creativity in business isn’t just for sexy new start-ups or young hipsters; it is now essential for long-term growth. Even the oldest and most entrenched businesses and companies need creativity in sales and business development to consistently evolve and grow.
In the New York Times best selling book The E-Myth, (which is a must-read for every business owner), author Michael Gerber writes a story about how he accidentally stumbled upon a hotel on the northern coast of California, called the Ventia. From the moment he first entered the hotel lobby, he felt as if he was entering another world. Simple things like the outdoor lighting and service to the specific brand of coffee that was brewing in his room the next morning had all been perfectly orchestrated.
Michael, being the person he is, had to investigate and find out just how this amazing experience had come to be. What he found was a huge three-ringed binder in the manager’s office labeled “Operations Manual.” As he poured over the pages he found that book detailed and outlined everything that employees were supposed to accomplish to unlock this experiential magic. The outline was so specific that it even detailed things like how to light the fireplace, and how the beautiful outdoor lights were carefully timed to sync with the sun. They didn’t just happen; it was a result of creative planning and executing a detailed list of things to do.
Our customers, those who we want to do business with and those who we are currently doing business with should never notice that to do list nor our creative business development planning. But the truth is, you won't be able to execute this kind of experience without it. That is why creativity in business development and sales is the key to success.
I had the privilege of hearing and meeting Lee Cockell the former Executive Vice President at Disney World earlier this year. One of Lee’s major and lasting legacies was the creation of the Disney Great Leader Strategies, which was used to train and develop the 7000 leaders at Walt Disney World. Customer service, sales and the overall enchanting experience at Disney World can be attributed towards much of his work.
“For the customer, the magic is a source of wonder and enjoyment. For the company and its employees, magic is a much more practical matter. Provide a promise, not a product. And always exceed the customers expectations” – Creating Magic
Spend a few minutes researching the magic of the Disney experience, and you will quickly find, things are done with creative precision. From the trashcans being exactly 23 feet apart, to the texture of the pavement, Disney has the magic making down to an art. Their business development strategy is as much about what you see, as in what you don’t see. Next time you are at Disney, check the ground and notice what you don’t find. I dare you to try and find candy wrappers, gum, or spilled popcorn.
When you are enjoying your Magical moment at Disney you are walking through the business development manual a.k.a the to-do list that outlines how everything should be. Creativity in business happens in the detailed planning. You start with business development that plans and details the steps you need to make an unforgettable experience for your customers and the customers you are working to acquire.
Those who are successful in business aren’t smarter or more special than either of us. The fact is, they have a manual somewhere that you and I won't ever see and with hard work and sweat, they are executing it before our eyes.
About the author:
Wes Deklerk is Director of Business Development at SalesEvolve Solutions Inc. SalesEvolve is based in Waterloo, Ontario and provides professional sales outsourcing teams to help clients hit targets, grow revenue, build pipeline and win deals.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.