Evaluation of a top tier business development professional.

“Check their C.A.R.D.”

Whether you are evaluating business development talent to join your company or vetting sales professionals with whom your business interacts with, it is important to make an educated choice as to who you align your organization with.

Today, we will evaluate 4 major areas that build the foundation for a successful business development professional. Ensuring these traits and attributes are present will benefit your company and allow you to appropriately vet sub tier business development partners.


I don’t believe it’s a stretch to say that a business professional’s character should be on the top of your list during your evaluation process. Character is earned and is indicative of a continual way of conducting business. Let’s dive into some of the components that drive one’s business character:

  • Honesty: if there is a lack of honesty, sever the relationship immediately. Without a basis of trust from which to build a lasting relationship, you are building a foundation on shifting sand.
  • Integrity: Sales is a conduit to services you need and the bridge between you and your future customers. Integrity is paramount with forging and maintaining  mutually beneficial relationships.
  • Branding: Sales is the initial impression, perception and information you hear from your vendors and your clients hear from your sales force. An ill equipped sales professional is a negative branding experience.


The approach of a business development professional often dictates the outcome of the process and determines whether the process will move expeditiously or idle in neutral. A well-oiled approached will drive the process forward to an outcome that is in the best interest of all parties involved.

  • Listening: this is the starting difference between a consultative close and a “sales pitch”. Without understanding where your customer is, and where they need to go, you will  solely regurgitate what your company does.
  • Mutual Benefit: there are no long term business relationships without both parties receiving benefit in some capacity. If the situation feels very one sided, it will not last the test of time.
  • Consultative Direction: listening is the first aspect of this approach. The second is educating. Outlining the variables in a business equation that allow the buying party to make an educated decision is pivotal in protecting the interests of the business relationship.


You cannot deliver what you do not know. Likewise, you cannot deliver appropriately unless you know the effects and impact of the deliverable to your clientele. Being myopically focused solely on what your company delivers to its clientele without understanding the subsequent impact it makes on the whole of their organization is an unacceptable ignorance.

  • Aptitude: this is the potential that a business development professional has to increase their knowledge and deliver tangible results. Aptitude without realization turns potential into a 4 letter word.
  • Inquisitive: this essential attribute defines a consultative business professional. A noticeable lack in this area will guarantee that your business development partner is single minded in their approach and will likely not have your best interest in mind. They cannot assist with what they don’t know. Likewise, they cannot deliver what they have not researched to understand.
  • Acumen: is a process of aptitude being fulfilled through increased knowledge and experience applied to business solutions. The more experience and due diligence a business professional has under their belt, the more comprehensive and well-rounded their deliverable will become.


This quality is present in every successful business development professional. Their career and earning potential is sustained by a healthy drive to succeed. Drive must be accompanied by the three above subject headings or it can act as a negative quality, if you’ll pardon the oxymoron.

  • Ambition: is present in most entrepreneurs. Whether you are hiring a BDM or vetting your vendors, you will notice the ambition or lack thereof in your audience. The key in this area is to ensure that ambitions are aligned as much as possible with your agenda (with the exception, to an extent, during the negotiations phase of the relationship).
  • Perseverance: this is essential in obtaining and growing business. With any successful journey, there will be storms to weather. How does your business development professional handle these circumstances? If they are not riding out the storm with you to course correct your ship, there is an issue. Any business development professional that is difficult to get in touch with or points fingers during a time of uncertainty is not worthy of being aboard your vessel. My favorite (sarcastically) in this area is when a business development professional whines about losing business to their clientele stating they thought they had a tight relationship. Business relationships are built over time with the foundation of executing results, not glad-handing at lunches.
  • Competitive: why do most of us love sports? We like to see the best of the best hammer it out until there is a victor whom is willing to go the extra mile for the results. Competition breads better results, it’s that simple. Until Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile in 1954, nobody thought that could be done. In the last 50+ years since that remarkable achievement, that mark of 3:59.4 has been lowered by almost 17 seconds. Don’t over blanket the market with competition. Do your due diligence and select your top 2 to 3 representatives and let them earn your business.

While there are always additional yardsticks by which to measure a successful relationship, using the above qualification process will help your company avoid making a poor hire for your sales team and help you navigate away from conducting business with a sub-tier business partner.

Do you have insight you’d like to share? Are there areas that you have found that weren’t included in this article? Feel free to leave a comment below.  We’d love to hear your insight!