Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Blunnell Idea Group Business Development Course in Atlanta. 

The starting point for the course was to undertake an HBDI assessment to understand how your brain thinks. The results were presented back at the start of the course (I welcome anyone to guess mine!). The relevance of this was revealed as the day went on to make us not just understand our own thinking process but to make us more aware of how those we build relationships with may have a different method of thinking. See the video below for more background into this. It will confirm a few thoughts and enlighten your thinking during that next negotiation or conversation! 

There are four areas of thinking: analytical (someone with a calculator constantly on!), process (a brain with a gantt chart), personal (always focused on people/relational) and creative (big vision thinking). Handy graphic here:

So next time you are connecting with a client or prospect start to think about how they see the world. Is your prospect someone who likes 'big vision' discussions or perhaps what they really want to do is understand the 'process' behind your offering. Talk to this.

In order to tease out their way of thinking you can think about the questions you ask i.e. would you like to see the process behind how we work with clients like you? If this question is dismissed and perhaps the response is something like 'tell me about the outcomes of your other clients' it is likely they might be thinking with the top left (analytical) or top right (creative) part of their brain. 

Taking this one step further, think about your follow-up emails and content marketing. Following on from the scenario above, following-up with a comprehensive document on the process might not be advisable.

However, there is one caveat. We often see today that decisions are made by on average '10 people' inside the company. Remember that there might well be someone your contact has to internally sell to that might think in another way so providing different types of content could be important. 

Whilst a lot of this seems obvious, it did make me think about how I ultimately ask questions and start to engage further to deepen relationships. 

Someone who has pioneered this successfully in professional services is Mike Duffy, Global Head of Business Development, King & Spalding. I was fortunate to spend some time with him and he very kindly provided me with a handout to help plot your audience during meetings (happy to share if you ask!).