Don’t They Know This Stuff?

I recently received an email from a Business Development Director who relayed to me a discussion he had during a budget meeting with the company’s CEO and COO. The COO, ever concerned about financial performance, and rightfully so, asked, “We need to train them in how to win projects? Don’t they just know that stuff?” The answers are “Yes, you do” and “No, they don’t.”

When you hire technical professionals, you hire them because they are educated and trained in their particular field. Unfortunately, those university programs that turn out great engineers, architects, lawyers, scientists, etc. have no requirements for marketing and business development. That lack of education isn’t a problem when these professionals are sequestered away and asked to simply produce. However, in the consulting industry, before you can produce work, you have to win work. Furthermore, often those you are “producing for” are not the same as those you are “winning from.” When this happens, the lack of business development skills becomes glaringly obvious. Then there is the issue that many technical professionals don’t want anything to do with the process of winning the work. To make matters worse is the problem is often addressed by taking someone that has each a chronological milestone, walking them to the end of the dock, and pushing them off hoping they will learn the business development survival stroke before sinking!

If you find yourself in a similar discussion in your firm and someone asks, “Do we really need to train our project managers in business development?,” ask them, “If we put our Marketing Manager in charge of our next design-build project, will we need to train them?” I hope the answer is a resounding,”Yes.”

New Members and Clients

January has been a very busy month.  The Pursuit Coach has added several new members and I would like to welcome them all.  Also, I am excited to announce that in February The Pursuit Coach will begin providing business development training for a new corporate client!

How Fresh Is Your Influence?

A few posts back I wrote about what I call The Business Development Unifying Theory that described influence as a function of our technical expertise and rapport with the client expressed as I = Te * R. While that unifying equation addresses the establishment of influence it does not expressly address the “freshness” factor of that influence. Over time, if not nurtured, influence with a client will diminish. Often forgotten in the busy world of day-to-day consulting is that influence, once established, has a “Best Used By” date.  Influence isn’t something that is achieved and then always available when you need it.  Without planned and intentional effort staleness seeps in.

It is easier to maintain influence that regain it. In my opinion, depending on the client and the degree of staleness, it may even be more difficult to regain influence than it was to first establish.  The reason for this negative re-starting point is a loss of trust.  After all the hard work to establish ourselves with a client the last thing we want a client asking themselves is, “X worked so hard to understand our operation yet we haven’t heard from them in eighteen months.  I wonder what their motivation was in the first place?”   What’s more is that a client will never tell you this question has arisen for them.  But, if you look close it will be evident in their actions.

It is strategically important and cost effective the keep your influence fresh. The manner of how that freshness is achieved is as important as the freshness itself.  Just as in establishing that initial rapport the key to keeping the influence fresh in sincerity.  Keeping it fresh isn’t a “check the box” exercise.  It is exhibiting a real interest in what’s going on with the client.

We work hard to establish influence with clients.  To keep it we have to remember we aren’t collecting trophies to set on the shelf, we are building and restocking a store of up-to-date supplies that that can relied upon when the time calls for it.  When the time arrives no one wants to go the the influence stockpile and see “Best Used By 2012.”

Business Development, System Design and Making Toast

As I have written about before, successful business development is not happenstance. It requires a strategy, which requires a plan, which requires execution and that all rolled together is system design. I came across this TED Talk with a simple way to look at system design. It also touches on understanding how others communicate and approach a problem. Understanding how others make toast provides you the information you need to communicate with them.

Check out the video at here.

8400 and Growing

Exciting news! The Pursuit Coach You Tube site has reached 8400 views!  Thank you to everyone checking out the sample lessons and to those subscribing to the site.

A Nugget From Coach John Wooden

“If you don’t have the time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?”  – John Wooden UCLA Basketball Coach

Celebrating By Saying Thank You!

In May The Pursuit Coach reached 2,000 newsletter subscribers.  To say thank-you we are giving the program away to a lucky few!  To have a opportunity to receive three FREE FULL YEAR SUBSCRIPTIONS for you and your staff just forward me an email to and in the subject line type in “Celebrating TPC.”  That’s it.

On July 1 I will select the winner to the contest and let everyone no of the outcome in the August Newsletter.

Thanks for supporting The Pursuit Coach.

Are You Missing The Point?


Celebrate By Getting The Pursuit Coach for Free

The Pursuit Coach newsletter reached 2000 subscribers in May! To celebrate We want to offer the program to a lucky subscriber for free.  To enter the drawing for three Full Year subscriptions to The Pursuit Coach at no charge.

To enter just send me a e-mail at and in the title bar write “Celebrating TPC.”

That’s it! The winner will be selected on June 30 and the subscription to begin August 1, 2015.

Thanks again for your interest and for getting out the word about The Pursuit Coach.


Great Conferences!

A BIG thank you to all those who attended the recent sessions at the SMPS NERC Conference in Boston and the PNWS-AWWA Conference in Seattle. Hope to see you again next year.