Intern’s Insights: An Intern’s Guide to Business Development

First things first, I will start with some advice that I’d like to offer to any future interns. Generally-speaking, most organisations are not excessively regimental. This means a few things:

  • You won’t have to ask for permission to go to the toilet.
  • You wont have to ask for permission to take your lunch break.
  • You won’t have to ask for permission to breathe.

 

Of course the third one is an exaggeration (surprising – I know!), however, the point still stands: For those of you, like me, who do not have the advantage of having had previous office experience, just bare in mind that work is not like school. You will have relative autonomy in your endeavours.

 

As a business developer at WSV, I had a very dynamic role which was made particularly exciting by the current growth phase of WSV. I had the unique opportunity to develop new skills and build upon existing skills without the limitation of any blueprint. As such, when seeking to establish different forms of partnerships with other corporate organisations, I was easily able to discover the most suitable and effective method of doing so.

I found there to be two main aspects to seeking corporate partnerships:
  1. Finding an organisation with synergic values to those of your own organisation.
  2. Finding the right person to contact within that organisation and establishing a conversation with them.

The first aspect requires little more than a mere google search. The latter, on the other hand, is the real challenge. Whilst my experience in this is admittedly relatively modest, I feel able to offer you my nuggets of newfound wisdom:

  1. Make full use of any connections you have – even the most tenuous of links to an organisation can help you get that all important foot-in-the-door.
  1. Don’t underestimate the power of cold-calling – this technique is often overlooked as intrusive and obnoxious, however, the perception can be altered if you change your approach to the call. Be brief and give them a reason to continue listening. How might your proposal benefit them?
  1. Don’t just ask for money – some partnerships can offer reciprocal benefits to your organisation which will be worth far more than cash alone. Law firms, for example.
  1. Believe in your product/service!
  1. Finally, be relentless – perhaps the word ‘relentless’ is somewhat misleading due to its intense connotation, but the message holds true: don’t be afraid to follow up over, and over again. 80% of sales require 5 follow up calls after the meeting. 44% of sales people give up after 1 follow up. Don’t contribute to that 44%.

I hope that these pieces of advice will further enrich your wealth of existing knowledge and assist your ambitions in business development.

Bryce Luke

Research and Business Development Internship