The “Fish or Cut Bait” Approach to Business Development

If your company’s business development activities aren’t bringing results, maybe you should check whether you’re using a “fish or cut bait” mentality.Here are two questions that will reveal the truth:1) Do you throw your team members out to go “fishing” for new business, with little training or direction?2) Do you “cut” people who don’t bring back any fish, instead of coaching and developing them to get better results?Constant turnover of staff is an expensive proposition for any business. As you know, it takes time, money and effort to recruit, hire and train people.The fish or cut bait approach is widespread in professional services firms. New hires, fresh from accounting college or law school, may know all about the numbers or about law but little about applying that knowledge to real-time client situations or bringing in new business. For some, these things will come naturally. For others, not so much. Yet they’re thrown out in the fishing boat without the proper tools and still have to pay the price.Imagine for a moment that your company invests in some top of the line software, but then after making the purchase decided they cannot or will not spend more money to train people how to use the software.Yes, some of your people will be naturals at learning new software, but others will stumble and still others will just resist and do nothing. And you’ll have wasted your money on software that no one is using.It’s the same with your business development. If you don’t give your people the right kind of training and keep them accountable for their results, they won’t perform to their capacity and you won’t get the new business you’re looking for.Training is not a waste of time. It is not even an expense. The right kind of training is an investment in success and the right kind of accountability system will show you that you’re on track.We can take a lesson from successful franchise businesses, who operate from a replicable, proven system. They know their metrics and they know their “recipes” (whether for food, customer service, sales or product development); they also have strong training programs that incorporate each of those things.MBWA (management by walking around) isn’t good enough. It’s up to you as a leader to give your people the resources they need to deliver the results you want. Train them, set them up with a plan, keep them accountable to work their activities and keep your clients forever.