When we evaluate Business Development Professionals using the 12 Core Competencies of Business Development, we discover many individuals serving in a BD role lack a fundamental understanding of behavioral psychology.
At its very essence, Business Development is engaging with people, working with them to understand their challenges from their perspective and helping to get their problems solved. Given this explanation, it would seem to be a requirement that individuals working in BD should have as much understanding of behavioral psychology as they do in the technical, money and business knowledge competencies.
Unfortunately, too many individuals in Business Development falsely believe that technical knowledge and its application are what establish credibility with their prospect. Not true. These aspects just convey technical competency. If the client doesn’t have a problem to solve, technical knowledge has little or no value to them. Understanding behavioral psychology and how to apply it is far more valuable in developing business. It is our ability to understand and deal with people that actually engenders trust, respect and a comfort level which allows individuals to share their concerns with you.
Can an understanding of behavioral psychology be learned? Of course it can. Learning to understand people is a daily experience. It is a process of understanding yourself, the way you think, how you relate to others and, in some cases, how they relate to you.
Life experiences can provide some of that education, but it is seldom enough to make us proficient in the role of Business Development. While few of us would go back and get a formal education in psychology, if we truly desire to be successful in the role, we should understand what drives our own behavior first. Second, we need to learn what attitudes, beliefs and feelings motivate our prospects.
Understanding the principles of behavioral psychology is analogous to learning, understanding and applying engineering principles. We often share with our students that Business Development involves learning how to become a human engineer, and then leveraging that knowledge in dealing with our prospects and clients.
Nothing could be more interesting.
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