Competitive Business Development Forum

The competitive, client-driven marketplace demands both technical product knowledge and sophisticated selling and presentation skills.  There is a critical need for business development professionals to differentiate themselves in order to begin the process of long-term relationship building that is the foundation of success.


The successful development of business relationships is distinguished by several critical factors:

  • Development of long-term, consultative relationships with clients
  • Consistent and accurate identification of client needs and sensitivity to changes in those needs over time

Adequate preparation for interactions with clients (calls, informal and formal meetings, presentations): 

  • Clarifying objectives
  • Calling on extensive market knowledge to fully explore alternatives
  • Identifying and marshaling the full range of resources required

Superior execution of business development calls and presentations:

  • Clear purpose
  • Roles of team members - complementary and coordinated
  • Ability to change direction based on shifts in client needs, attitudes or goals
  • Follow up and future actions

In today's highly competitive market environment, it is the responsibility of the sales professional to analyze the need to exclusively differentiate capabilities to the client. In order to effectively achieve this, three major areas must be understood and incorporated into the business development process:

  • the dynamic business development framework and process
  • competitive pressures
  • overcapacity

The successful business development professional today must learn how to integrate and balance the following business development skills in order to set strategy and maximize each client contact.


  • The Business Development Funnel of Opportunity*
  • Understanding the Dynamics of Client Strategy and Philosophy
  • The ‘Know Your Client’ Principle
  • The Relationship Ladder*
  • Business Development Professional as Catalyst - Introducing New Ideas and Managing Change
  • Strategic Alternatives: Transaction vs. Relationship Approach
  • The Wedge and Upgrade Strategy*
  • Client Penetration: Analysis of the Client Buying Center
  • Competitive Analysis and Exclusive Differentiation
  • Anticipating, Preparing and Handling Impasses
  • Selling from a Position of Strength: The Power of the Franchise
  • Understanding the Dynamics of Client Strategy and Philosophy

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT SKILLS:  Managing Client Relationships

  • Gathering Quality Information to Know Your Client and Differentiate You, Your Product and Your Institution
  • The Questioning Strategy: Multiple Questioning Options
  • Probing vs. Responding
  • Control: Maintaining and Regaining Control in Client Situations
  • Listening and Maintaining Focus
  • Handling and Refocusing Objections
  • Persistence in Asking Difficult Questions - Penetrating the "Impasse Zone"*
  • Maintaining a Positive, Proactive Posture
  • Upgrading Plateaued Client Relationships

*Copyright: Phoenix Group International, an affiliated organization. 1991 & 2009


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