How to Create Unstoppable Momentum in Your BD Efforts

By Mo Bunnell

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This video is about how to create unstoppable momentum in business development. This is particularly important because business development is one of the few disciplines that supplies very little feedback, so we have to create our own momentum, or we'll grind to a halt.

The research behind this is really interesting. Seppo Iso-Ahola at the University of Maryland has found that psychological momentum is a thing. It actually exists and it is really important. We see it in sports when one team seems to go on a roll. In basketball maybe a team goes on a 20 to 2 point run or something like that. We hear the announcers talk about this kind of thing. When you are playing sports, and you get on a roll like that. You almost feel like you are unstoppable, like the other team just can't do anything.

That is what business development can feel like when we have psychological momentum. We are getting advances. We are winning deals. We are getting meetings. It rolls on its own.

We are in charge of this. We have to find ways to create momentum, and the key is counting little incremental advances as wins, as opposed to only counting when the deal gets signed. If you only think of wins as when the deal gets signed or when engagement starts, you will fail because your momentum will feel like it grinds to a halt. Those things don't just happen enough. In business development the wins are small and incremental. Even getting a "yes" on going to lunch with somebody is a big deal. Even getting somebody to reply to that perfectly crafted email that you sent adding value, just by them saying "thanks" or, "This was great," and not even a period at the end of the sentence, those are huge wins.

So what we have got to do is find metrics that we can count, that we can track, that we can add up, that we can look at from time-to-time. We can use them to figure out if we are moving as quickly as we want and if we have psychological momentum. Here is how you do it.

Figure out what area you want to focus on. Where do you want to create psychological momentum? Where do you want to feel like you are making ground? Figure out what that is, then pick a metric that you can control, and then figure out how often you want to tally it up, take a look at it, and then reward yourself. If you do that, you will win, and you will create psychological momentum.

Here is an example. What I really like to do is count my asks. How many times am I asking for the next step in a process? That is my focus area. My measure is, how many asks do I ask for? The third thing is how often do I revisit that? I add it up daily, and I tally it up weekly. That is where I enter it into a spreadsheet. Then my reward is I look at my number, and I am either really angry that I did not do enough, or I feel really great about it. The psychological momentum that occurs from that is really powerful. If I beat my record, or if I get above my average for the last quarter, or if I get any kind of number that I feel great about, I start to feel like I am on a roll. I have psychological momentum, which gets me geared up to do the next week. If I do not hit my number, the good news is I am never off by more than a week.

Our clients use this methodology all the time in our GrowBIG Leader Training where we talk about how can we create metrics that we can track and our team can look at so we can create this idea of psychological momentum. It is really powerful. Figure out where you want to create momentum. Is it the hours that you put in business development? Is it the give-to-gets, the little bite-size chunks of your expertise, that you are offering people? Is it asks for the next step? Whatever it is, figure out one thing that you can measure. Just tally it up on a post-it note. Make the tracking really simple. Tally it up daily. Tally it up weekly. Figure out how you can measure it.

Then as you start really small, your first numbers will be very small relative to what they will be in a few weeks. Each week try to get a little bit better, and a little bit better, and a little bit better. Our old maxim of "Think big, start small, scale up," plays really well here. Think that you are going to change the way that you go to market but start small. Pick one thing to measure and then scale up from there and try to always improve what you're doing.

We find when people do that, they create this unstoppable inner feeling that they are moving forward and making progress. If you do that, track the things you can control, as opposed to tracking the things you can't totally control like the deals you've brought in or the dollars you've brought in, you find that you create so much more momentum because you're in control.

As with all of our videos, we hope this one helps you help your clients succeed.