Is it possible to build a successful business without proactive Business Development activities?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a cold e-mail to a board member of a relatively large Latvian company. Received an answer within 10 minutes. He accepted my invitation for an online call. Yes, cold emails still work! When we chatted a few days later, the conversation turned out to be quite productive. We agreed on the next steps of possible cooperation.

But one thing that struck me during the call the most was his categorical attitude: “I don’t support cold calls and emails! And I don’t like doing them myself! I prefer when customers come to me! ” Is there anyone who doesn’t like it?

After the conversation, a logical question arose: Is it even possible to build a successful business by sitting and “aggressively waiting” for the customers to come themselves?

Opinions are divided. Every day I come in contact with people who say they can. And indeed – by offering a unique and quality product or service – it is possible that people will one day start talking about it and giving word of mouth advice to each other. But let’s be pragmatic – is there really anyone who sees “aggressive waiting” as a strategy for success?

The other front is the one that believes in a proactive approach. And, fortunately, this is the majority. Pick up the phone and call customers. Send emails. Write LinkedIn messages. Go to networking events. Actively network in conferences. If I am an investor with an appetite to invest in start-ups, then my choice will always be in favour of companies with a proactive mentality in their culture.

But if we go deeper into this topic, an additional question arises – why don’t we like to approach and call strangers, send cold e-mails?

The answer is quite simple: It is the fear of rejection. When we approach strangers, we risk getting a “No”. And who likes to be rejected?

Why do I think so? I have come to this conclusion now for almost 10 years working in the sales field. I used to live in the USA, Canada, Australia and Great Britain working in door-to-door sales. I was knocking on doors of strangers’ houses. In 6 years, I did about 40 thousand cold contacts. In addition, I have approached around 35 thousand strangers in Latvian supermarkets, selling monthly charitable donations and pension plans.

I have noticed that people have a desire to overestimate their importance, and each “No” is like a blow to their ego. On the other hand, those who are able to overcome these fears in their self-development process have all the prerequisites to build a successful business in any field with this proactive approach.