The business development director speaks with prospects and customers and feels that folks have been candid with him. He is convinced he has heard a pattern of need. He wants the company to provide a new product/service for the customers. And he is excited!
He comes to an executive team meeting enthusiastic about the new idea. But then he feels punched in the gut by the negative response.
How can we afford to do THAT?
I sure hope you didn’t promise anyone that we can do THAT right away!
How many people said they wanted it anyway?
Oh, THEM…they always want more and more. And then they don’t want to pay more.
It can be more difficult to sell a new product/service idea within your own company than to convince customers to buy it. This problem exists in lots of midsized privately held companies, but is even more prevalent in family owned businesses. Like most problems, the solution depends on the source of the problem.
If the negative reaction reflects a fear of failure, it pays for the business development director to take the new idea to each executive one at a time. That way, each person can think through and discuss concerns and not feel put on the spot. Plus the business development director can convey that his confidence in each person is one reason he is excited that customers have expressed an interest in something new.
If the negative reaction flows from concerns about money, discussing costs and ROI with the CFO before bringing a proposal to the executive team could diffuse worries.
Sometimes the negativity stems from long term memory about previous times when the business development director was excited…only to find out that customers didn’t really want what he was proposing. Some executive teams hold grudges or never forgive past mistakes. If that’s true in your company, the business development director probably must directly and calmly convey how the current proposal is different (without being defensive).
Remember, negativity is often fueled by group dynamics. No good idea is worth making your business colleagues look bad, feel incompetent, or become embarrassed. If you have an exciting idea for which you are invested in an affirmative response, take the time to do individual discussions, anticipate/ address objections, ask for assistance…and resist the temptation to become strident, adversarial or defensive.
Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called The Growth Strategist™. She has won over two dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across four recessions. Her midsized B-to-B service, technology and distribution clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. All of her own service businesses (strategic planning, executive advisory, growth financing, radio show, speaking, search, etc.) help midsized companies in Achieving Accelerated Growth With Sustained Profitability®. Ambler is in her 7th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer online radio program Growth Strategist Radio Show, at www.GrowthStrategistRadioShow.com, that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr) sharing success tips about the growth strategy of the week. She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at Aldonna@AMBLER.com.