7 Signs You're Carrying Business Development Baggage

So, how do you know if you might have some BD Baggage weighing down your attempts to reach your business development goals? BD Baggage can come in many shapes, sizes, colors and even patterns. Over the years, we’ve trained ourselves to uncover the signs of BD Baggage as early as possible so we can direct our coaching time, energy and attention accordingly to free up any resistance and blocks. This resistance clearing helps our coachees move on to the more technical strategies that can pave the way for success. Here are some potential warning signals that can alert you to the possibility that you’re carrying around some BD Baggage.

  1. You set business development goals but you never seem to take action towards them. As in, last year’s business plan is sitting in a file folder somewhere gathering dust…  
  2. You avoid setting business development goals or set underwhelming ones.  
    If your idea of a business development goal is “continuing your business development efforts,” this one applies to you.
  3. You find that despite your best intentions, the time you set aside for business development activities gets compromised in lieu of billable projects or non-work priorities.
    Something else “urgent” but possibly not “important” always seems to come up and business development activities are always the first things to go.
  4. You find you don’t have or don’t take steps to create space in your calendar for business development activities.
    There is no standing block of time: not weekly, monthly or even quarterly that you’ve set aside for business-related activities.
  5. You feel drained by or even resentful about having to do business development activities.
    It takes a lot of energy to motivate yourself to do BD-related things.
  6. You avoid difficult conversations around getting credit for your BD efforts internally. For example, you did the majority of the work for a pitch on which you will likely be the lead but the colleague who had the loose connection to the client takes the majority of the credit and you don’t say anything.
  7. You’ve found yourself saying one of the below statements or something similar:
  • “I didn’t go to law school to be a sales person.”
  • “I don’t feel comfortable asking my friends to give me business.”
  • “I feel like I’m bothering people when I ask them out to lunch.”
  • “If I just put my head down, do good work and keep X partner happy, I’ll be safe.”
  • “I just want to do enough so that my compensation doesn’t drop.”
  • “I’ll never be the next big rainmaker at this firm.”
  • “Business development just isn’t my thing. It doesn’t come naturally to me.”
  • “Any client I’d try to bring in to the firm would be small and isn’t a client the firm cares about developing.”
  • “Any client I’d try to bring in to the firm would never pay our rates.”
  • “I don’t really believe I have anything to offer that’s different than the competition.”
  • “I’m an introvert and I’m not good at cocktail parties.”

If you’ve identified with some of the signs of “BD Baggage,” fear not. The good news is you’re not alone! Be kind to yourself about it. Beating yourself up will only compound the resistance. And guess what? Knowledge is power. If you know that you have BD Baggage that’s getting in the way of your success, and you’re willing to take steps to remove it, you can easily be on your way to smoother sailing.

So let’s get on our way with shedding that psychological weight. The next post will give you ideas about how to start the process of eliminating your baggage.