How to make smarter new business decisions

When I talk to people who have been in business for a while, most are nostalgic for the “golden” age of selling. Back then, business was done on a handshake, relationships were king and suppliers had a lot of power. Fast-forward to today, and business of any size and scale is done through bids and tenders, procurement is king, and suppliers don’t seem to know what to do any more.

What’s really going on is that the world of sales has fundamentally changed. And in this upheaval, those on the “supply” side feel that they have lost their power.

It’s true that not everything we would like to control is within our control. We can’t control how customers buy. We can’t control what competitors do and say. And we can’t control how we feel about any of these things. But we CAN control how we exercise our choice, and we need to start by making smarter decisions about the business we choose to go after.

According to a recent study by TEC (The Executive Connection), a global network of company CEOs, one of the five issues keeping CEOs up at night is the perennial need to make good decisions. In this study, they say: “Good decisions are made when CEOs equally weigh the pros and cons, rewards versus risks, and probability of success versus failure. Out-of-the box decisions can sometimes be a recipe for disaster.”

There is a lot at stake when we go after new business. Every meeting we have, every tender that we write, every proposal that we submit creates an opportunity cost of things that we could be doing elsewhere that might be a better use of our time and effort.  

Most importantly, every pursuit requires “mojo”. It needs our energy and enthusiasm to fuel it. And we only have so much of that to go around.

There's no shortage of checklists you can find to help you make pursuit decisions. Most of these, however, are based on the perspective that this is a rational process; follow a flow chart, and out pops a decision at the other end.

In fact, business development is not a rational process. It’s human, and complex, with many factors to consider. So the reason to have a new business pursuit process in your business is not just to make the right decision; it’s to understand WHY you are making the decision in the first place.

My new program From Chance to Choice is designed to help you make smarter decisions about what new business you should go after. It looks at the human factors, as well as the commercial ones. It’s totally online, so you can access it from anywhere. It will help you build your win rates – and your mojo.

Because what we contribute is what we get in return.

Robyn Haydon is a business development consultant who helps helps service-based businesses that compete through bids and tenders to articulate the value in what they do, command a price premium, and build an offer that buyers can’t refuse. Don’t let others dictate how far and how fast your business can grow – take your power back! Email robyn@robynhaydon.com to request the white paper for the Beyond Ticking Boxes program.