Debby Moorman Details Why You’re Better At Business Development Than You Think

author
By Alexa Ward

Debby Moorman shares why business development became her career passion and why everybody is better at business development than they think.

Debby Moorman shares why business development became her career passion and why everybody is better at business development than they think. Find out why the sales label holds so many people back from growing their skills, how being helpful is the foundation for business development, and the aha moment that helped Debby become more effective than ever at building relationships with prospects and clients.

 

Mo asks Debby Moorman: Tell me the moment when you decided that business development is something that you wanted to focus on.

  • Debby fell into business development almost by accident when she was in college after taking a sales job one summer. The key realization was when she figured out that she liked helping people solve their problems, and that was when she decided to shift her focus to professional sales.
  • Debby went on to a professional sales role out of college where most of the training was technical in focus. It wasn’t until Debby moved into a national leadership role did she realize that business development skills are just as important as technical skills. That was when she became connected with Mo and the GrowBIG system.
  • Now that Debby is consulting, the focus on business development is even more important.
  • As a service provider, the reality is that you are helping your clients solve their problems, and that is the essence of business development.
  • Companies tend to focus on technical training because there is often so much information to learn and such a large need for that information, businesses are incentivized to pay attention to it. An organization that wants to grow has to invest in its people beyond the technical side.
  • Companies often throw structure at an issue in an attempt to solve a problem.
  • Take the word sales out of your mind if you’re just getting started with business development. Retool your brain to frame the conversation as a way of figuring out what the other person needs and how you can help. If you can do that, the conversation becomes less intimidating.

 

Mo asks Debby Moorman: What is your personal development of business development?

  • Business development is identifying high-value relationships, investing in them, and finding ways to bring value to those relationships.
  • It’s about matching what you have to offer with the needs of your market and customizing it for each person.
  • Figuring what the client needs is fundamentally about asking the right questions and listening closely to the answer.
  • The key in any conversation is that if you’re talking more about yourself than you are about them it’s not been a successful conversation.
  • Debby’s personal philosophy is if she can help the other person solve their problem, either with something she can offer or by pointing them in the direction of someone else who can help, then the day will come when she does have something that she can offer them.
  • For an hour-long meeting, Debby prepares for at least double that time to make sure she deeply understands the person and the company she is meeting with. The more she can become a student of their business, the more she can make that initial conversation helpful.
  • She will write out a handful of open-ended questions to get them talking and sharing about the challenges in their business.
  • One of the biggest gaps in a good conversation that leads nowhere is that there needs to be a next step. The questions and preparation get the conversation going, but coming up with two or three paths that could lead to a give-to-get or a second conversation is the goal.
  • The goal of the first meeting is to get the second meeting. You need a reason to get back together again.
  • A good rule of thumb for a meeting is that the other person should be talking ⅔ of the time. One of the skills that Debby has had to work on over the years is the power of silence. We have a natural inclination to fill the space, but it’s okay to wait. It takes practice to learn these skills but it’s more than worth the effort.

 

Mo asks Debby Moorman: What is your favorite science, step, or story from GrowBIG or the Snowball System?

  • Debby’s favorite science is the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument. The science behind what type of thinker we are is incredibly valuable.
  • Most people have been through at least one kind of similar training, but they usually can’t put it into use. With HBDI, that’s not the case.
  • The brilliant a-ha moment for Debby was realizing that you must assume that you have all four thinking types in the room when you’re meeting with someone new, and you must tailor your conversation to appeal to all four types.
  • The best part is that the system is easy to remember and put into practical use.
  • HBDI basically says that there are four ways to think based on the physiological structure of the brain. Some people are analytical and some are relational, some are experimental and some are more practical.
  • Components of your presentations and discussions should always touch on all four parts.
  • Debby’s second favorite principle is the idea of building it together. Spending time together to think through the various options, you aren’t selling them something, you are helping them understand what they need and helping them get that solution.
  • Building it together starts with the preliminary market research and understanding what’s happening in their market, and then coming up with a few options for a possible solution. It can take multiple conversations and feedback to figure out the right option for them, but the goal is to match the right solution to the prospect’s particular problem.
  • The prospect is probably facing a near infinite number of choices in the beginning. This is the perfect opportunity for you to narrow things down and save the prospect a huge amount of time.
  • During a conversation, Debby is trying to uncover which option would be the best fit, or whether a completely different option may be a better path. There is almost always something new learned during the conversation that changes things, but the goal is to always narrow solutions down and getting clarity on the best next step.

 

Mo asks Debby Moorman: What is one moment around business development that you are really proud of?

  • The current climate has been challenging, and there is one client in particular that she’s working with right now that she’s proud of.
  • She had the opportunity to reconnect with someone she worked with 15 years ago that recently moved into a more senior role. She reached out to them, but with the way things are right now, she couldn’t meet them in person and have a face-to-face conversation with them.
  • What Debby was able to do was have a conversation with this person and simply learn about their new role. She started to hear things that indicated the company was going through a number of changes and was able to offer herself as a resource to be more successful in their new job. This led to more conversations and helping them with relevant research, and eventually getting connected with the CHRO.
  • This relationship from Debby’s past has developed into a conversation about how they can all work together.
  • By cultivating a relationship with this person, Debby has opened the door to working with the organization in a deeper scope that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise, simply by being helpful.
  • For Debby, the commercial transaction is not a focus when connecting with someone. She brings a curiosity to the table that helps her uncover genuine ways that she can help and by following through, she adds value, builds trust, and creates a real relationship.
  • Be helpful and honest, and the solution will happen.

 

Mo asks Debby Moorman: If you could record a business development tip and send it to your younger self, what would it be?

  • The bottomline is the idea of sales can be scary because we usually think of our worst sales experience and extrapolate that to everything. Debby’s advice to her younger self would be to take a breath, and realize that it’s all about meeting people and getting to know them, then helping them solve their problems.
  • Changing the label from “sales” to “helping people and solving their needs” is a powerful mindset shift.
  • People usually don’t realize that they are selling everyday, they just don’t label it that way. If you substitute “solve problems” for “sales”, you’re probably doing it all the time.
  • Debby tells the story of an earlier experience where her job was traditional sales, literally going door to door, and how by simply asking questions and identifying the needs of the company, she turned a no into one of the biggest sales of the hotel she was working for.
  • Everybody already sells, they just don’t call it that. When you substitute solving problems, you realize that you’re already great at what you do, and if you plug in a process like the Snowball System, you can keep getting better at it.

Mentioned in this Episode:

GrowBIGPlaybook.com

debby.moorman@willistowerswatson.com

Debby Moorman on LinkedIn