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Tom Courtney’s Metrics-Driven Approach to Business Development: How to Close a Deal Every Year

Tom Courtney’s Metrics-Driven Approach to Business Development: How to Close a Deal Every Year

An interview with Tom Courtney, president & managing director of The Courtney Group

Tom Courtney’s systematic approach to business development has been a critical component of his success. As president and managing director of The Courtney Group, Tom has made 25 investments in the last 22 years.  Courtney obtained an undergraduate degree in Economics from Princeton University and an MBA in finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania . I recently talked to him about his approach to business development and what it takes to succeed in the increasingly competitive world of private equity. 

Set Goals

Like any other business, Courtney argues that setting goals is the first step to success in business development. Having a goal means having targets and metrics to guide you. Courtney’s goal is looking at 1000 deal leads a year or 20 leads per week. He takes a two-week vacation every year.

“I think what happens is that people just follow the drift like you are in a rowboat and following along with the current,” he said. “But I believe that you can set targets and hit goals for business development just like you can for sales or profits or other metrics that you track.”

Courtney believes that having a large funnel of opportunities helps him find the businesses where he and his team can contribute the most to the company’s growth and success.

Have a Phone Day

When he is not looking at deals, Courtney sends emails or talks to his contacts over the phone, staying in touch.

“If I am down to one or two things left in the cupboard, I might decide to spend an entire day, eight hours, on outbound marketing,” he said. On one of his “phone days” he can send 100 personalized emails or have 25 phone calls and generate 21 deal leads.

Keep a Positive Mindset

Having a positive mindset is imperative for success in business development, Courtney said. A positive mindset entails not only staying away from negativity but also being proactive and looking for opportunities.

“Don’t get discouraged. Not getting something is a win,” he said, “because it is all a game of statistics, and if you are following your statistics and the goals you set, then you are one step closer to getting the deal you want to do.”

“So, a ’no‘ still propels you forward, and you need to get enough no’s so you can get some yes’s. And if you never ask, you never get,” he added.

Look For Relationships, Not Deals

Finally, Courtney said that one of his most important tips was to look for relationships, not just deals. Staying in touch with as many business owners and individuals as possible is the Courtney way to find the right partners.

“You don’t get a deal. What you get is a relationship with somebody,” he stressed. “Think of it as a person you want to be friends with; you want to have as a colleague; someone you can learn from; someone you can share ideas with; someone you can have fun talking to.”

“You won’t find things if you are looking for a deal. You will find things if you are wanting to have a relationship with somebody,” he added.

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By Lou Sokolovskiy, Founder & CEO at Opus Connect
August 2021

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