Tanner Butler is part of a six-month rotational internship with Carson. The internship was established through a partnership with Carson and the Heider College of Business at Creighton University, focusing on providing students a full picture of the financial services profession. Tanner, a financial analysis and business intelligence & analytics major, will spend six weeks working in four areas of our business. This column outlines his second rotation: business development.
I had got my feet wet with the mission and vision of Carson through marketing, and I was excited to see how that translated to the business development team as I started my second rotation. I transitioned from the Carson South office (where our marketing team operates) back to the main headquarters, where I was stationed with our sales team. So it was a new setting to get to know more people and see the social dynamics of the office. But, at the core of it, I listened and tried to soak up all that I could about the people, the culture and the process of the business development team.
There were many things that stood out over the course of the six weeks, but one of the most important things for me was understanding what sales was really about: listening and communicating value. Too often sales people are thought of as talkative and pushy. But from my experience, I saw first-hand the importance of being able to listen effectively. I sat in on many calls within the business development team, from discovery and overview calls to economic and tech demos. The common thread among these calls was first asking the right questions then listening to understand the other person’s perspective. Focusing on what the other person needs or is looking to improve, develop or change is really the first step in selling effectively. Once you know a person’s needs, communicating effectively is that next step. In The Win Without Pitching Manifesto, Blair Enns outlines very clearly what it means to communicate in sales as:
- Help the unaware
- Inspire the interested
- Reassure those who have formed intent
This was the same process I saw in my time with business development. First, showing the value beyond a doubt that what Carson provides can help those who do not understand what we offer. Then, being able to inspire and show how this investment in the future would be something that paid returns to those who are a fit.
And finally, reassuring the importance and impact of those who were committed to partnering with Carson. Business development consists of relationship building, persistence, patience and hard work – and all of these center around being able to listen well and communicate effectively. In a way, everybody is in sales, whether it’s selling your strengths for a job, selling your good qualities to a spouse, or just convincing someone your opinion matters. Being able to sell is crucial. Sitting in on weekly role-play meetings to craft the right messaging was consistently my favorite experience. I learned the importance of communicating your message through a specific lens, because sometimes breaking through those limiting beliefs and seeing things in a different light is all it takes. These lessons from development have been valuable and have inspired me to continue developing how I listen and communicate.