Monkeys, Shakespeare and New Business Development

It never takes long. In any discussion of new business development, someone  always pipes up to explain how ‘it’s just a numbers game!’ More leads, more prospects in the sale funnel, and it’s only a matter of time before the next new customer is secured.

This is the sort of thinking behind the famous monkeys and Shakespeare thought experiment* – the laws of probability dictate that if you do something often enough, for long enough, you’ll eventually get the result you’re looking for. Chance though is surely no way to go about building a business.

New Business Development isn’t a numbers game, it’s a data game. Quality information is the key; if you know exactly who wants what, when and how much they’ll pay, getting new customers becomes easy (presuming you can deliver!). A focus on generating more leads is usually a reflection of  a lack of enough good quality information about potential customers and markets.

New Business Development should be a strategic activity, not simply a tactic. It needs to be considered and planned – research your markets, your customers and your competitors. Consider your skills and work out how to be different and better.

It might take time to get a complete picture, but every meeting with a potential customer can teach you more. Ask questions, get to understand your audience, refine your story and keep making your offer more relevant and more engaging.

Monkeys might write Hamlet but only by chance, and it will take a lot of them a very long time. Shakespeare did it on purpose, by listening, learning, refining and developing. And, once he’d learned how, he was able to do it again and again.

So, next time you sit down to discuss New Business Development, make sure your approach is less monkey and more Shakespeare!

*The infinite monkey theorem states that an infinite number of monkeys hitting keys at random on an infinite number of typewriters for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.

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