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Reciprocity: The Final Secret to Successful BD

In honor of Axial BD Week, we are focusing content this week on each of the five pillars of business development. Today, the last day of the week, is focused on Reciprocity: Give to Gain.

Over the past week, we have been discussing the best practices of business development — how to use a combination of strategies and tactics to secure the best opportunities for your firm. However, the most important strategy has yet to be discussed: reciprocity.

Sometimes the best way to stay top of mind is to share opportunities you sourced with others. A similar concept is central in Chinese philosophy known as guanxi — the goodwill and strength in a relationship that comes from sharing with others. Just as Adam Grant, a Wharton professor, promoted in his book Give and Take, it can be especially helpful to be a giver.

Here are a few ways to easily pay it forward:

Recommend deals

Every deal you pass on presents an opportunity to connect someone you know who is a better fit. In fact, the further a deal makes it through your sourcing funnel, the more you should consider sending it to other contacts. A great way to restart a relationship is the “thought of you” model, where an opportunity you pass on could potentially spark the interest of an old contact.

Similarly, the best heads of business development know how to redistribute deals they can’t work on right now. This requires a vast amount of knowledge of competing players in the space or the specificity of firms interests. Going dark when you are in the process of closing a deal closes you off to the market when you need to have a consistent presence.

Uncover industry specialists

Reconnecting with old, dormant contacts, the people you haven’t spoken with in a number of years, can bring to light new insights, especially when you can bring them a specific deal to discuss. A study published by MIT a few years ago found that executives who reached out to contacts they had lost touch with reported their conversations were more valuable than the discussions they had with their regular contacts. The dormant relationships presented novel ideas, had unique insights and were very happy to help even though the relationship had gone cold.

Find financing options

Whether it’s identifying a co-investment opportunity, sourcing debt, or accessing limited partners, your ability to take deals to more robust sources of financing can significantly change the size of the transactions you’re able to participate in.

With Axial’s “Find Financing” workflow, identify which capital providers are in the market to invest alongside a firm like yours on a specific deal you have under review. The two-step process takes less than 5 minutes.

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