A Newbies Guide to Business Development

Before you read any further, please note that this article is based purely on my short experience within the staffing industry. I’ve been with Russell Tobin for a little over a year now and my role has been focusing on business development, which is also another term for sales. The reason why I prefer the term business development, is because I never feel like I’m selling anything. I truly feel business development is so much more than just the word ‘sales’ because you aren’t just selling a product, you are building and developing relationships.

In my opinion, in order to be successful with business development you have to have a few tools in your toolbox. The first (and most important) tool is listening. You will never understand your clients’ needs unless you are capable of listening. For some people, listening can be very challenging – most people only like to talk about themselves, which is actually very common. Listening is one of the major building blocks to a foundation of a relationship.

Being genuinely interested in what you’re listening to and having a meaningful conversation really creates something special; so special that it doesn’t feel like a ‘business relationship’ it feels more like catching up with a friend. Some relationships will be transactional, however, the special ones are your long lasting partnerships.

The next tool in your handy dandy toolbox is your team. I’ve been lucky to have an excellent mentor who paved the path for me and having stellar teammates allows me to continue to build successful relationships and support them as well.

As my first professional endeavor here at Russell Tobin, I really wasn’t sure what areas I’d like to pursue. I’m naturally drawn to all things beauty, cosmetics, fashion, etc.… So it didn’t take long for me to narrow in on the beauty and fashion markets. Given that I’m naturally interested in these areas, it rarely ever feels like ‘work’ or ‘sales’.

In summary, listen to what your clients are asking for or may not be asking for (you’ll be able to pick up on the cues if you listen close enough), build genuine relationships with people you’re genuinely interested in, and surround yourself with a rock star team. Lastly, and most importantly, pursue areas of your personal interest. I think with all of these tools you’ll find success in business development.

Chelsea Olivero

Chelsea Olivero is an Account Executive based out of our NYC and NJ office. She is responsible for business development within the Creative Services Division.

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