Fortune Favours the Bold

The scariest thing I can think of is jumping off a cliff and forgetting how to fly.

One of my all-time favourite TVCs is the Hennessy Never Stop, Never Settle  advert where they relate effort to success. There’s a phrase in there where they talk about never stopping until you have opened more doors for more people. It’s like hearing a song that’s so directly related to your life that you become a walking epiphany. The first time I saw the advert I was preparing for a meeting with a potential client, and I almost fell off my chair –– for the first time in a while, I had my life philosophy flighting right before my eyes.

Thomas Edison, one of America’s greatest inventors and businessmen responsible for developing and marketing the phonograph, motion picture camera and the light bulb, once said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10 000 ways that won’t work.” This philosophy, and what I live and die by, is what helps me to navigate the agency ecosystem.

Over the years, I have learnt that the agency environment is not for everyone because hard work is a survival imperative and it demands the highest degree of delivery on numerous competency streams –– even more so when you are a Business Development Manager (BDM) like myself. People often ask me what I do and when I answer I usually see the misguided assumption that I am a salesperson. Salespeople are conditioned to sell things they don’t like, to people they don’t like, in anticipation of an email from the boss telling everyone how they have managed to exceed their target. Don’t get me wrong, sales has a cosy spot in my heart, but mindsets need to change.

People need to realise that the world is developing faster than we can adapt, and the modern-day business development manager needs to see their role beyond just sales.

Here’s what I believe are some of the attributes you need to have to be a head-above-the-rest, hot shot BDM:

 1. Humility and Passion

Having humility and passion for people is at the core of attracting business, and building relationships the anchor to sustaining it. The sooner you realise you need people in this ecosystem, the better.

2. Hunger

You have to be hungry enough to learn everything you can and be willing to impart your knowledge.

3. Dedication

You’ll work hard, work harder and the work some more.

4. Resilience

Know that each failure means only one thing –– you’re getting closer to success. Having a resilient attitude means you are able to deal with setbacks. If you’re willing to improve, you can make a success out of everything.

5. Balance

Play as hard as you work. Everyone needs an outlet when the job runs you down.

I realise that people will never do things without a tangible benefit, so if you’re looking for success like I am you’ll realise very quickly that working hard is highly-rewarding. Why? Because your role is one that is *far* more important than ticking sales boxes –– it’s a role that sits at the heart of the business.

As the first point of entry for potential clients at The Fort, one of the biggest lessons I have learnt is that business is not built on briefs, but rather on consistently building the required capacity to retain clients. I believe The Fort is positioned for growth because it takes an approach that creates harmony between people and business strategy. In my opinion, the people at The Fort are the most attractive thing about the agency. We’re a family that authentically connects with one another and that creates a sense of belonging.

As far as rewards go, the thing I love the most about working in a high-pressure environment is that the rewards are big. My account is one area where my happiness resides, but the sense of accomplishment when hard work translates into growth for the business is something I will always cherish.

It’s that feeling you get after months of preparing physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally to run the biggest marathon of your life and finding you have it in you to push through to the finish line –– like you can take on the world.

That is the feeling you get when you never stop opening those doors for people.

Never stop, never settle.

Calvin Bruce is a Business Development Manager at The Fort.