Coaching Your Executives for Business Development Success Wherever They May Roam

What are your senior executives involved in outside the office?

If our clients are any indication, your executives are pretty socially active people. They play key roles in social organizations, industry associations and community organizations.

This is actually a great thing for your firm — and I don’t just mean the PR aspect.

These roles provide opportunities for you and the other business development people in your firm to connect with more potential clients.


To take advantage of this, however, you must embed it into to your business development process. There are three steps to doing this:

1. Take an Inventory

First, sit down with each of your senior executive team members and map out all of the organizations they are involved in.

Then look for opportunities for your executives to cross-leverage their time and help you identify new connections.

Take a look at sponsors, upcoming events, and even board members. You never know where new business possibilities might be hiding in plain sight. Work with your executives to determine exactly who they should be targeting for connection the next time the opportunity arises.

2. Arm Your Executives

Second, arm your executives with client and market intelligence around the opportunities they’re going to be targeting within these organizations.

This is where business and political issues come into play. The insight you need to gather, and the intelligence you need to arm your executives with, are around these five key areas:

  1. Customers
  2. Stakeholders
  3. Staff
  4. Operating model
  5. Competition

Understanding what’s happening with your target connection in these five areas gives your executives real insight — insight into things those target connections actually care about, that are keeping them up at night.

I also suggest you provide your executives with a few key talking points that enable them to start conversations differently.

3. Debrief and Plot Next Steps

After the executive has had their conversation with the target connection, get together with him or her to get the scoop on what was learned.

Finally, get your entire business development team together for a follow-up meeting, debrief them on what you discovered, and determine next steps. Share your intelligence so everyone can participate in the go-forward conversation. Gathering the unique viewpoints of everyone on your BD team can lead to better decision-making overall.

The Bottom Line

The outside events that your executives attend or take part in provide more opportunities to connect at a higher level.

The three tips in this article will help you and your BD team better capitalize on the time and effort that your senior leadership is already spending on non-firm-related organizations.

Of course, none of this works well if you don’t first understand the key opportunities your team is focusing on. So above all, make sure your BD team and your executive team are aligned on goals and frequently sharing intelligence.

To learn more about this and other connection strategies, make sure to check out our coaching page.


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