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  • Simon Haigh

Sustainable Business Development

What is Sustainable Business Development?

Sustainable Business Development is not a quick fix, scatter-gun exercise. It is about empathy, doing your homework, identifying where you can help and how you can contribute. It is about listening, identifying and tracking the market and your customer needs. It is about being a valuable partner - being useful (rather than being another cost), even if that initially means saying no.

So How?...


Understand your target audience and the problem it needs solving. Plan and research demographics, sectors, gender, age, location factors etc., and regularly track the market. You also need to ensure you are reaching out to the right person (usually who holds the budget).


Leverage first impressions. You need to show you know what you are talking about. Grab your potential customer’s attention, ideally through a captivating one-liner. Use humour, if appropriate, to get attention.

Provide Value

Show that you believe in your offering. Also show that you are understanding of your customer’s needs through your value proposition – the reason they should buy from you.


Personalise your message and ensure the relevance of your unique selling proposition. Engage with your customer on an authentic, empathic level. Once you have established attention through trust you are more likely to get that all-important first meeting.


Provide a tailored solution to a known need or problem of your customer through your offering. You need to have something your customer does not have and wants and/or needs. This helps trust to develop, which in turn makes it easier for customers to return and repurchase. Review and evaluate what is working and change what is not.

You can use the SPIN Sales Model:

a) Situation: ask the buyer to tell you what facts they need addressing

b) Problem: ask the buyer to tell you what pain they are suffering

c) Implied Needs: ask the buyer to explain the effects of the problem then propose solution/s

d) Explicit Needs Pay-off: ask the buyer to tell you about their explicit needs and then ask them to explain the benefits your solution/s offer.


Think close, close close. Chase the lead within a week, otherwise you risk losing it. Always ensure meaningful activity in your sales funnel. Don’t let leads dry up. Follow up every meeting. You will lose 100% of opportunities if don’t ask for them.


Do not give up. Brush off rejection. Stay focused on the goal and look after yourself physically, mentally and spiritually.


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