Our Experts | David Allen

Pursuing a career in business development? You’ve probably already been told that you will have good days and bad days and not to take rejection personally. That is obviously good advice and maybe a salesperson’s greatest challenge.

Here’s another piece of advice that you may not have received. If you are a true business development professional, you will find that your daily schedule puts you in front of a lot of people. Some of these people are very good people. In business development, why would you just sell when you could sell and possibly build lasting friendships?

A few years into my sales career, I began to realize something very important. The better you do your job, the more personal relationships you’ll have to show for it. At some point, you’ll begin to recognize things you have in common and connect with your clients. Look at this as an opportunity outside of business.

Many of my closest friends are people that I called on many years ago. I am grateful that I recognized early in my career that being a salesperson has more perks than just making a living.

This approach can also prove to be beneficial if or when you make a career change. I was a business development professional for 20 years with a company immediately after I graduated from college. While doing my job I met a lot of people that were not able to help me grow my book of business.

However, I realized that I had a lot in common with some of these people and I made an effort to stay in touch regardless of their ability to help me professionally. After making a career change, it turned out that a good portion of these people were now in a role where they could assist me in making a successful career change.

The friendships that I developed over the years put me in a position where I could comfortably seek their advice and assistance, and they were usually very happy to do so.