Biz Dev Questionnaire




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You can use the entire service for free for 30 days. You do not need to provide your credit card information. 

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A group subscription allows you to invite multiple subscribers who all register using the same credit card. You can convert your individual subscription to a group subscription in My account, in the Profile section.

Our goal

The goal of BizDevCoach® is to help you create and implement an effective business development plan.  It will give you new ideas to consider and it will also provide a system to help you develop your own ideas. It is for people who want to meet prospects through referrals, networking, implementing seminars/events and public speaking. It's for consultants, professionals such as lawyers and CPA's, architects, etc. It will help you create a business development plan. It will help you in your follow-up. It will keep you organized and constantly thinking about new and better ways to reach out to better targets. It will help you think of new and more effective business development strategies. It will also help you develop better ways to serve your clients.

The most effective way to develop business is to create a plan that you really want to implement. The site will help you think of new ideas that fit your personality and situation. Keep in mind that you may currently believe that business development requires that you do things that are unpleasant and that you will have to force yourself to implement your plan. You may see business development as pushy, invasive or manipulative.

Of course, effective business development does not require these negative behaviors. In fact, the reverse is true. Effective business development is a process of revealing the value you offer and demonstrating your interest in promoting the well-being of your prospects.  But, if you maintain the belief that business develoment behavior is unattractive, it is unlikely that you will even give it a try. Therefore, it is important that you learn to identify the things about business development that you enjoy and that you will be proud to implement. This will occur as you review all of the different business development opportunities that are available to you.

Using the Site

This tutorial will take you step-by-step through the process of creating your plan and also taking action. It is designed to help you answer the questions about how the site works and also teach you business development concepts. 

Mobile access

You can access To-do's, Targets, Top of Mind and Tutorial from your mobile device. But these have only limited functionality. Full use is available only via your computer.  

In order to immediately sync your mobile device with the main site, you will need do two steps

1. After entering data on your mobile device, you need to move the cursor to another line so the data you entered will be saved.

2. You will need to refresh the location where you did not enter data. Use of the software will also prompt the sync. Also, the site will auto refresh and sync every five minutes.

Functionality tips

1. The site can remain open on your computer 24/7. Keep in mind that doing so could provide access by others. for maximum security, you should log out when not using the software. But, if you don't log out, you should refresh on your first visit each day.  You can do that by clicking on the "Refresh" icon on your browser, the BizDevCoach logo or any link. That will update the calendar entries on your To-do's.

2. You can put a shortcut link to BizDevCoach on your Desktop. The process will vary depending upon your browser. It may be as simple as highlighting the URL (https://bizdevcoach.com) and dragging it to your desktop. You can also bookmark it as a "Favorite" by following the instructions provided by your browser.

3. You can also program your computer to automatically open BizDevCoach when you start your compter. Go to the Settings link and follow the instructions regarding opening a program upon Startup.

4. As you are using the site, the best way to visit a prior page is to use the links on the top and bottom of your screen. Don't use the "back arrow" becuse you may lose your most recent entries.

5. All rust-colored words are links.

Getting started

One way to learn how to use your Biz Dev Dashboard is to start using the To-Do's section. Just start adding the biz dev things you need to do.  You will quickly see how valuable it is to have all your biz dev ideas in one place.

Another good way to get started is to list a few people in the Targets section. Enter the names of a few people you know who could be clients, referral sources or resources. Then, as time permits, start filling out their target worksheets. You can do a little at a time. You don't need to completely fill out each worksheet for it to be helpful to you. If you enter a to-do for a target, it will be duplicated in your general To-Do list.

Note re terminology:

Clients: Different kinds of businesss use different words to describe the people with whom they do business i.e. customer, patient, client.  We will use the term "Client" as the term to refer to the people with whom you do business.

Referral Sources: These are people who know your prospects and may be willing to make an introduction.

Resources:  These are people who could be helpful to you. Maybe they could help you arrange a speaking opportunity, publish an article or invite you to an event that is well-attended by quality prospects.  

Another way to quickly get started is to start filling out the Biz Dev Questionnaire. You don't need to fill it out completely - just get started. The answers you provide on the Biz Dev Questionaire will be reproduced in your Biz Dev Plan, which will become a practical and actionable document. Some of the questions will be easy for you to answer. Others may be very difficult. But, rest assured that with consistent attention, the answers to each of the questions will reveal themselves to you. So, be patient and keep following the processes that are available to you through the BizDevCoach® system

As you consider the answers to the questions in the Biz Dev Questionnaire, you can click on the "Help" icon for guidance.  You can continue to "learn as you go" by visiting each section and clicking on the help icons as needed.

We recommend that you read the entire tutorial to get an overview of the process. You can read it on your computer or download and print it. 

Keep in mind that your business development plan will be in constant flux. That's because your situation will always keep changing. As you learn more about the needs of your targets, as you identify new markets, as you become more skilled, you will want to consider new strategies. That's why BizDevCoach® is designed to stay with you on a long-term, consistent basis. As you and your business mature, BizDevCoach® will continue to help you create the most effective business development plan for the moment.

Much of the site is designed to save data automatically. But some sections require that you use the "save" button. Do not rely on using the "back arrow" because it may result in undoing information that you have entered. This definitely will happen in the "Archive" button. The best way to return to a prior page is to use the appropriate section tab.

You have the ability to edit your entries. But the system only allows one edit function at a time, so if you begin an edit, be sure to save it if it is requested before you edit another entry. If you fail to save when required, you will lose whatever you initially entered.

Secure encryption

All information that is transmitted between your browser and the BizDevCoach server is encrypted. You can verify this by looking for a closed lock icon at the bottom of your web browser,  or looking for "https" at the beginning of the address of the web page.

Our backup system

Our software is programmed to back up your data every evening. So, if the system crashes, we should be able to retrieve all the data from the prior day. Of course, we cannot guarantee that the technology will be 100% reliable. Therefore, we strongly urge you to print or download a pdf of key information such as your Target Worksheets and To-Do's.  And, we strongly urge you to periodically download a Master PDF which is located in the footer of the site.


Several sections offer the ability to archive an entry. For example, you may have  Targets who are no longer a priority. So, you may want to remove them from your Target List -  but not forget them completely. In that case you can archive those  Targets. The names will be hidden but can be retrieved by clicking on the Show Archived link and then click on Unarchive.

When you print a  section that has Archive capability, it will only include archived entries if you show them on the screen before you click on the print icon. When you download a PDF, it will download both the current and archived entries.

Using PlanPal®

For many people, having a PlanPal is a very helpful support system. A PlanPal is someone you choose - maybe a colleague or contact who is not a competitor. Ideally, on a periodic basis (maybe monthly) you will send each other your plan and target list and have a telephone conversation to assist and support each other in implementing your respective plans. The goal is to ask specific questions that motivate each other to make smart biz dev decisions.

PlanPals should not give advice about business development. Rather, in a friendly way, they should act as a support system, making sure that both are using BizDevCoach regularly and taking action on their plans.

Using Win/Win Referrals

You can reduce or even eliminate your cost of using BizDevCoach by referring others to the site. If you let a contact know about BizDevCoach and he/she decides to register, that person will receive not only the free 30-day trial period but also will receive the first month for free, upon subscribing. And you get a free month for making the referral. For example, if you refer 12 people who subscribe, you get 12 months for free.

A complete list of your Win/Win introduction emails will can be found in the Win/Win section. It shows the date you sent the email and the date a recipient becomes a registrant and or subscriber. You can resend an invitation if you notice that a recipient has not subcribed.

To facilitate your introducing larger numbers of contact to BizDevCoach, you can invite as many as 10 contacts using the same personalized email. If you want to create invidivual email messages, you need to send each individually.

Frequency of Reminders

BizDevCoach® has a default setting to send you an email every day to remind you to visit the site. If you really want to be more successful at business development, t is extremely important to make it a habit to visit the site frequently. It is best if you keep it open all the time. The more you see the information on the site, the greater the likelihood that you will notice opportunities for outreach. Remember, "Out of sight, out of mind!" But, if you don't want to receive daily reminders, you can program the email function in the My Account section.

Top of Mind

This is a place to document concepts that are driving forces in your business development effort such as, "Be a person of value. " Or maybe there is an important concept or quote you want to see throughout the day.  We have pre-populated Top of Mind with some suggested entries. Feel free to remove them, but be sure to keep thinking about the things you want to keep top of mind and add them to the section.

For the Future

During your day, you may think of things that you don't want to do in the near term but are important to maintain quick access. For example, maybe you want to remember that you have a credit at a store that you want to use. Or maybe you have met a vendor whom you are not ready to hire but you want to remember the name.

Improving your business development

The following information in this part of the Introduction is designed to help you think about improving your business development strategies.

Identify your Obstacles

A good way to start thinking about business development is to consider the obstacles that you are facing. Many obstacles are beliefs about business development that are completely inaccurate. If you really given them the attention they need, you can remove the misconceptions.

For example, it is a common (but incorrect) belief that business development requires that you develop a friendship with prospective clients. If you believe that, you may think that business development is a process of making friends with people and then, when the friendship is established, leaning on the friendship to sell your services. Well, that is a manipulative and frankly distasteful thought.

In reality, the goal in business development is to communicate your ability to be of value to the people you want as clients. It does not require a friendship. Of course, you may end up becomming friends with clients and that is certainly fine when it happens. And you may have friends that become clients. But your strategy should not be to make friends for the purpose of converting them to clients.

There are many possible obstacles and you only need one to stop you. That's because there are so many other demands on you that you feel pressured. When you are under pressure and you run into an obstacle in business development, it's easy to immediately move to another activity.

Once you have identified an obstacle, you need to decide if it is irrational or rational. If you can label an obstacle as irrational, you need to ask yourself why you are holding on to an irrational obstacle. Over time you will be able to think about how to deal with it. If the obstacle is rational, you need to think about possible practical solutions.

But nothing will happen until you document the problem. Here are four common obstacles and how you might deal with each.

Obstacle #1: You are not familiar with business development strategies - you don't know what to. The solution to this problem is to start filling out the Target Worksheets and the Biz Dev Questionnaire. They have help icons that will give you guidance every step of the way.

Obstacle #2: You feel too busy. The reason you feel too busy is because you have filled your life with the things that are important to you and realistically available to you. The best way for you to make time for business development is to decide that it is both important and also that it is achievable. You need both. To decide that it is important, you need to think about all the things you need to accomplish in your business and decide where acquiring new clients fits in. When you make the analysis, you may realize that business development is much higher on the list than you had imagined. To decide that it is achievable, you need to identify practical steps - which is what BizDevCoach® will help you develop.

Feeling too busy is due to two possible problems. The first is that you really don't like the biz dev options that you are considering. The fact is that people do what they want to do and since there are already so many other things in your life that demand your attention, it is easy to label your lack of biz dev activity on being busy. BizDevCoach® will help you identify and develop desirable strategies that you will want to implement to help you meet your goals.. 

One way to identify biz dev strategies that are appealing to you is to begin to notice the biz dev opportunities that are right in front of you. Biz dev opportunities are constantly presenting themselves. For example, if you are talking with someone, it could trigger your awareness that the person you are talking with probably knows other people who might be good contacts. Or you could be solving a problem for a client and it might occur to you that the solution could be the topic for a speech or article.

Learn to notice biz dev ideas that cross your mind and write them down. The more ideas you capture, the more likely you are to think of ideas that might be worth scheduling some time to pursue.

Keep in mind that even if you come up with a good idea, it is unlikely that it will take up much time right away. You will take small steps and make more time available in the future - if you want to.

The other reason you feel too busy is that you really are too busy. In that case, you need to analyze how you might change your systems to allow adequate time for business development. Can you delegate more? Should you cross-sell the services of your colleagues? Should you hire more staff? Freeing yourself up for business development is a key component to your effectiveness. For many, an important goal is to create a business where you can delegate the lead generation and also delegate the implementation so you can make money without being directly involved.

Obstacle #3: You feel embarrassed.

The reason you might feel that business development techniques would be embarrassing to implement usually is the result of experiencing a lifetime of bad sales people imposing on you. Effective business development strategies will not be an imposition on others.

The strategies you will learn in BizDevCoach® are based on your being a person of value. Everything you do will be perceived as valuable to the people you want to target. When you are valuable to the people you want to serve, you will never be seen as an imposition. You will always be welcomed.

Another reason you might feel embarrassed is the false belief that the act of business development reveals to your targets that you are not good at what you do or that you need more income.

This is common among those people who believe that if you are really good at what you do, business will automatically come to you. When you look at that rationally, you will readily conclude that effectively reaching out to people and revealing your ability to be valuable to them will communicate that you are valuable – neither incompetent nor needy.

Obstacle #4: You feel skeptical.

There are many reasons to feel skeptical. You may feel that you don’t have the personality to be effective. You may feel that you will never learn the skills. The fear of futility is a powerful deterrent.

But you will come to see that your skepticism is unjustified. As you go through the BizDevCoach® process, you will learn that you already have the personality. Even introverts can be great business developers. BizDevCoach® will teach you the necessary skills.

As you spend time considering the issues, you will develop ideas that intrigue you. You will feel motivated to try things. As you do, you will learn how to make improvements and refinements in your biz dev activities. 

There are likely many other obstacles that are stopping you from implementing business development activities. Write them down so you can consider them and decide how you will be able to overcome them. You can list them in the Top of Mind section.

Regularly using the tools in  BizDevCoach® will help you identify strategies that overcome your obstacles.

Guiding Principles:

The definition of business development: Business development is "A process of creating and communicating your ability to be valuable to your targets."  So, first, you need to be certain that what you offer is really a good deal. Confidence in the value you offer is probably the most important issue in your success.

Guiding Principle #1: You must have confidence in the value you offer.

When you are confident in the value of your service, you will be proud and excited to reach out. There are are two components of value - benefits and cost. Value is a benefit/cost ratio. It is the relationship between the two that creates the highest value. If you increase the benefits or reduce the cost, you increase value.

Your goal should be to charge a profitable price that your targets are willing to pay. The way to do that is to reveal all of the benefits that you offer so that your target knows the price is a good deal. One obstacle that you may have is that you are not clear about the benefits your offer. If you are not clear about the benefits you offer, you will likely have difficulty communicating them to your prospects.

You should maintain a list of the benefits you offer and identify those that are superior to your competitors. Then you can list your superior benefits in your Biz Dev Questionnaire. You can raise your prices and still offer the best value by increasing the number of superior benefits.

Guiding Principle #2: You need systems for meeting new prospects.

Too often, professionals are of the belief that just being qualified is enough. While being qualified is important, your reputation may not spread as quickly as you would like. You need systems to meet new targets.

There are three ways to meet new prospects.

     1. Introductions.

One of the ways you will meet new people is by being introduced to them by your existing contacts.  One way to motivate your contacts to introduce you to their contacts is to actively introduce people to your contacts.  If you introduce an existing contact to others, there is a good chance that he/she will return the favor.

Another way is to simply ask for introductions. But be aware that strategy has the risk of your being an imposition. An alternative is to ask for guidance about how you might expand your network and see if your contact has any suggestions.

Another way is to implement biz dev joint ventures. If you have an ally who is not a competitor, but shares a common target market, you could join forces and implement a joint venture biz dev seminar or webinar. You each invite your contacts to attend the event. With this structure, your joint venture partner is introducing you to the attendees invited by your partner. The best people to contact regarding introductions are those who have access to the most and best targets. You should list your contacts who are are known and trusted by your potential clients in the Biz Dev Questionnaire.

     2. Organizations.

Organizations can be important environments to meet new contacts. To be effective, they should be populated by quality accessible targets.You should identify as many quality organizations as you can. One way is to ask your contacts about the organizations that serve their industry or that serve the industries of your other targets. You should then pursue opportunities to speak at the identified organizations, participate in their webinars and attend events.

It may be a good idea to get active on committees as a way to meet the members, but be careful not to get stuck in a committee that creates a lot of work with little exposure to the members. For some, the best committee is the membership committee. That's because the best way for an organization to grow is for current members to recruit their contacts. Your involvement in the membership committee could put you in the best place to meet current members and their contacts. You could also act as an ambassador for the organization and reach out to potential members who could also be people you want to meet.

Try to attend as many events as you can at well-targeted organizations. Also, be sure to continue to analyze the reason your are investing time in an organization. There is a risk that an organization that has been targeted for biz dev purposes may lose its value over time as you penetrate it. While there are lots of reasons to stay involved, if your goal is business development, be sure you are clear that the benefits are still there.

You should identify as many organizations as you can that cater to your target markets. You should ask all your clients and contact about the organizations they support. When you find the organizations that seem right for you, in addition to attending their events, you may want to consider speaking at their programs and/or writing for their publications.

     3. Invitations to strangers

An efficient way to meet new contacts may be to reach out directly. But your outreach must immediately demonstrate that interacting with you will be a valuable experience for them. You could invite them to an event such as a seminar, networking even or social activity.

If you provide a seminar, make sure it is on a topic of interest. A frequent mistake is to invite people to educational programs where you have expertise, but is of no interest to the prospect. A good example is when an attorney does a complex legal seminar for business owners. One solution is to arrange for guest speakers who are interesting to your targets. For example,  a seminar on how to maximize profits may be attractive.

Other events could be charity or community-based efforts. Your success in this area will depend on the quality of your invitation list and the attractiveness of the event. 

If you want to reach out to strangers, you must have a list. You may be able to purchase a list. But another way is to notice entities as you go through your day. Notice advertising, signage, subjects of articles and the names others mention in their conversations. You should also research the names of entities on the Internet. Once you have selected the entity, your next step should be to identify the decision makers as potential invitees. You can also ask your existing contacts to give you the names of their contacts who should know about your programs so you can invite them. At a minimum, existing contacts may be willing to forward on an invitation.

A note on cold calling: Some professionals may want to use cold calling as an outreach strategy. The same principle of an invitation may be the best strategy for creating a willing listener. For example, if you are a real estate broker you could call people and invite them to hear how they could improve the value of their property. 

Guiding Principle #3: Reveal your value.

Being valuable is not enough. You need systems for revealing your value. The best way to reveal value is to make valuable offers that your targets will immediately want.

Initially your offers may be free. At some point, you will feel comfortable to start charging for the value you offer. The Biz Dev Questionnaire will ask about several ways to offer value to both new and existing relationships. Offers are anything of value that you can provide to your prospects to motivate them to spend more time with you.

Keep in mind that it usually takes a long time to develop the trusting relationship that is required to close a sale (unless you are referred by a trusted advisor). It is most beneficial to you when an offer is immediately attractive to the prospect so that he/she will not delay in accepting. A delay causes loss of momentum and may require you to initiate a follow-up call, which may not happen and which may not be effective.

As an example, an offer could be some form of entertainment. You might be planning to go to a sporting event and have available seats to give away.

An offer could be to provide a seminar, but keep in mind that if your prospect is currently using the services of a competitor, he or she may feel uncomfortable inviting you to conduct  a seminar out of fear that their current vendor might find out.

We frequently suggest providing some kind of "best practices checklist" coupled with an offer to customize the checklist to the prospect's needs. You should develop a large inventory of offers. You should also be familiar with the offers of your partners. A prospect might not immediately need your services but might be interested in the services of your partners.

It is a good biz dev strategy to create offers that respond to the needs of the people you meet. If a prospect you meet describes a problem he or she is facing, you should simply try to help them - even if the assistance is not related to your profession. For example, if you are a CPA and someone you meet needs an attorney, you could offer to introduce them to an attorney contact of yours. In this way, you help your prospect and also provide a referral to the attorney. Be sure to list the referral in the Referrals In/Out section of the BizDevDashboard.

You should expand your network of advisors and vendors so that when you meet a prospect, you have the ability to install the services of your allies. That way, you provide value to your prospect and create a "referral  receivable."

The Selling Process

Every target who hires you needs to go though the same process. So your job is to stay very focused on improving your skills and strategies in these 5 steps.

1. Meet new prospects 

This is discussed in Guiding Principle #2 above.

2. Build trust

Building trust is a process that involves demonstrating that you are both capable and compatible. There are many ways to build trust. One way is to offer services that your targets need at a reasonable price. This is discussed earlier in your ability to offer value under Guiding Principles. 

You also need to demonstrate that you have the ability to deliver on your commitments. This is called substantiation and can be done in a number of ways. You substantiate with your bio which documents your skills and achievements. Articles you publish substantiate your knowledge, as do, update, blogs, speeches, etc. You can substantiate with stories (war stories) of your delivering value to others in the past. You also substantiate by providing valuable offers so your targets can experience your value.

Demonstrating that you are compatible involves demonstrating that you have the personality that feels appropriate for your prospects. You need to reveal your shared beliefs and values. The best way to do that is to preface your advice with words such as, "This is what I believe...", or, "I think it is important to...". Compatibility also is built around shared interests and contacts.

3. Clarify needs

There are two categories of needs: The first category is the needs a prospect is aware of. For example, if someone wants to sue an individual, he or she is aware of the need for a lawyer. Always try to learn identified needs. Sometimes, the easiest way is to ask. Sometimes prospects will simply tell you what they need.

The second category is the needs that a prospect may have but is not yet aware of. For example, a prospect of a CPA might have tax-planning needs, but the prospect may not know enough about tax to realize the need to plan. By educating the prospect about unidentified needs, you open the door to providing those services.

Be careful not to exaggerate the importance of an unidentified need. You don't want to be seen as a fear monger. On the other hand, accurately describing important things for targets to consider is not only a sound business development technique,  but also, it is the responsibility of a professional service provider.

4. Get approved

Getting approved means different things for different professions:

If you are a financial advisor, it is your proposed investment strategy that needs to be approved. That means you should ask, "Does this strategy meet your requirements?"

If you are selling a product such as an insurance policy, it is the coverage and cost that need to be approved.

If you are a real estate broker, buying or selling criteria need to be approved. 

If you are an attorney, your firm may need to be an approved provider. In that case, the best way to pursue getting approval is to ask, "What is the procedure for getting on your approved list?" There are only four answers to your question so you can prepare your response in advance. 1. "You need to fill out some forms." Your response -  "Great. Can you get me the forms?" 2. "There is no procedure." Your response - "Would you like me to help you develop a procedure"? This is value in advance and will give you an opportunity to explain why what you bring to the relationship should be in the procedure. 3. "I don't know if there is a procedure." Your response - "Can you find out?" 4. "We're not hiring now." Your response - "Sure. May I get on the list to be notified when your needs change."

In all cases, you need to make sure that your prospect is clear that you, your firm, your strategy and/or your product meet the identified criteria. Of course, if they don't, you need to identify the areas of weakness and fix them. 

5. Close.

The culmination of the selling process is usually a contract being signed.

The best way to get a contract signed is to review it in person with the prospect and make sure that they understand all of the issues. It is best to do it in person so your personal energy can assist in maintaining trust and motivation. But, reviewing a contract over the phone is an acceptable alternative.  It is not a good idea to mail a contract and wait for a signature.

Closing happens when you have satisfied the prospect that you offer the value they seek. If you have communicated your value and have not closed, you may want to inquire if the prospect has any questions or issues that are stopping them from proceeding. You can use the Objections link on the menu bar to help you think about possible objections and your responses. 

If you can't close, one good strategy may be to offer a lesser product or service that may not accomplish your entire goal but develops a business relationship. You may offer to do a paid seminar or do a paid consutation. Getting approved to do a smaller deal will make it easier to close. Once you get started, and dollars pass, the prospect is now a client and you will be able to spend more time together discussing additional services that you could provide.

Start using the site

Now, the best thing that you could do is start using the tools on the site. List all of your to-do's. Add some targets to the Target list. Start filling out the Questionnaire.  Think about someone who could be your PlanPal.

There is a lot to do and the best way to be successful is to start! We look forward to being of value to you.