How To Be A Successful Business Development Manager

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

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A habit can be defined as ‘any behaviour that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously’.

When we work on something continuously, we start to lay down a pattern of behaviour that is reflected every time that specific situation occurs.

This behaviour becomes the norm for us and we see it as such; a normal way of doing things.

So, what should a business development manager (BDM) develop as habits? If they get this right they will win more business and also improve their sales velocity moving sales much more quickly through their sales pipeline.

Here are seven habits that will help all BDMs succeed.

Become Overly Curious

Albert Einstein once said, “I have no special talent; I am only passionately curious”.

Curiosity, as a habitual way of behaving, builds a natural questioning and listening culture in your way of interacting with others.

Curiosity helps you ask the right questions, identifies the essential elements of success and allows deeper thinking to drive performance.

Successful BDMs ask those deeper questions, because they see them as the only inroad to increasing knowledge about their industry, their products and services and their clients.

By creating a curious mindset, the BDM is never satisfied with being ‘good enough’.

They are always looking at how they can find out more about their competitors or their prospects.

This generates a passion for learning and building knowledge.

Following on from that is the next habit:

Always Learn And Develop

The mindset of growth will always support the development of skillsets and abilities for the BDM.

Whether it’s identifying the key components that will take one of their clients on to the next level of success, or seeing how their new product can help a new prospect to make more profit, this habit will allow the BDM to create more opportunities for growth.

Leaving your learning and development up to your company through the Sales Training that they provide will never help you succeed alone.

Most of your learning will take place on the job and outside of a training classroom, so look for chances to build your knowledge and keep an eye out for improving your learning every day.

That way, it will become a habit.

Leverage Your Business Intelligence

We often think of leverage as a financial term; for example, the ratio of a company’s loan capital to the value of its shares.

However, it can also mean the increase in force that can be exerted with a lever.

Archimedes said that if he had a big enough lever, he could move the world.

So leveraging your business knowledge, and developing it as a habit, can help you build your business intelligence to a very high level.

It means taking what expertise you have now and generating new ideas via that knowledge.

If you take your abilities and make them work for you in differing circumstances, you have a platform from which to lever situations and improve results exponentially.

Take your knowledge, see how it can apply in other situations and build your business acumen to assist new and existing clients alike.

Make it a habit and you’ll become really useful to them.

Increase Your Research Base

There are few things better suited to improve your value to your customers than becoming a knowledge-base and expert for their business.

When you cease being seen as a ‘sales’ person, or someone who is trying to build business for themselves, and become a true asset to your client’s business, you become increasingly valuable to them.

The way to do this is to increase the amount of research and preparation that you carry out, so it becomes a daily habit.

Link this back to habit one and you generate reasons for the clients to rely on you for advice and information.

Improve Your Persuasion And Influencing Skills

Whether you are working with colleagues, your boss, prospects or existing clients, habitually improving your persuasion and influencing skills will always be a great skill to master.

For something to become a habit, you have to practice often and learn to develop it.

By practising persuasion skills, you start to master the key art of communication and show clients and others what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it.

Increase Your Self-Awareness

This is the first element of a higher level of emotional intelligence.

When you become self-aware, you realise what your feelings and emotions are telling you and you start to control your day, rather than letting outside influences affect your mood.

Making the development of your self-awareness a priority can improve your relationship with yourself and others.

To develop this habit, become aware every day of what you need to do to keep yourself driven, motivated and on top of your game.

That way, you won’t allow moods or negativity affect your results.

Keep The Client’s Business At Front Of Mind

Often, we will concentrate on how we as BDMs can sell more products, get more profitable business and develop our product portfolio.

Instead, you need to develop the skill of seeing things from the clients’ perspective.

When this becomes a habit, all your thinking goes toward analysing how their business can improve.

You look for opportunities to share knowledge.

You identify industry trends that you can pass on.

You discuss how their business can become more profitable.

Successful BDMs always keep the client’s business top of the list in conversations, so they can create openings where buyers start trusting their advice and recommendations.


These seven habits should help you achieve a higher level of business with clients as they help you build greater skillsets and business acumen in your role as BDM.

If you’re looking for some more business development tips, skills and ideas please check out these 9 powerful Sales Techniques or our 1-day Telesales Training Course.

Alternatively we have a number of Online Sales Training options for you ranging from webinars through to accredited online courses.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

Sales DNA

Originally published: 27 November, 2017

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