Brian Cafferelli, Katrina Johnson, and Cannon Carr Discuss Why It's Time To Get Great At Business Development with Mo Bunnell

By Mo Bunnell

Mo asks Brian Caffarelli: When was the moment that you realized that business development was something you wanted to focus on?

  • Brian’s first job out of college was in selling automobiles as a wholesaler to dealerships. Everything began for Brian with his first sale, and how that came about because of developing a relationship with another human being.
  • Seeing salespeople that were successful and respected helped Brian navigate what it took to grow in a sales career. So much of success is simply about being in the environment and paying attention.
  • If you want to grow your skills, start with the fundamentals of communication and psychology. It’s also important to apply what you learn along the way instead of just taking it in.
  • Consider what you’ve done well and what you could have done better.
  • Translating his business development skills to a virtual environment is something that Brian is working on, as well as working on learning new things and being open to seeing things differently.
  • A recent study revealed the Learned Dogmatism effect and how people tend to become more closed-minded the more expert they become in a specific domain. One of the keys to Brian’s success is striving against that and always being willing to learn.


Mo asks Katrina Johnson: Tell us the moment when you realized that business development was good and worth doing?

  • Katrina’s big aha moment was when she realized that the skill of business development can be learned. She started in academia and fell into consulting almost by accident, and she enjoyed her consulting work but she felt like her hands were tied. As a subcontractor, Katrina wasn’t able to deliver the work in the way that she thought would be the most powerful for her clients.
  • It wasn’t until Katrina met Mo and learned about the GrowBIG system did she realize what was missing from her work.
  • With a background in neural science, Katrina knew that the research and material were pointing her in the right direction, but in some ways digging into the research was also a curse. Katrina sometimes falls into the habit of using research as a way to hide and avoid putting it into practice.
  • This is where her second big realization came into play, and that she had some underlying issue that was preventing her from executing. She decided to start off small and refine the process from a place of action.
  • She began by going to networking events and trying to follow up with people, most of those efforts didn’t pan out though. She landed a few speaking engagements with small groups of people and used that as a basis to create a relationship with people.
  • She embraced deeper relationships rather than looser connections and in doing so stretched herself outside of her comfort zone.
  • She doesn’t set out to get meetings with important decision makers, but that often flows from naturally deepening relationships with people and being helpful.
  • Katrina learned a lot about the value of targeting over the last year. She realized that when she can work with the management of an organization in some combination of assessment and coaching she’s at her best.


Mo asks Cannon Carr: When did you realize that business development was great?

  • There was not one moment, but a story stands out in particular for Cannon. When his father was retiring from the firm he was working at, he told him that he was a great analyst but not a great salesperson, and if he wanted to succeed, he would need to figure that out.
  • When a professional services firm reaches a certain revenue threshold, the same things that got them to that point won’t help grow past it. Simply hiring a rainmaker won’t necessarily solve the problem.
  • You need a broader team working towards business development to tap a broader network to grow a firm.
  • The real mindset shift that unlocks the power of business development is “Are you selling, or are you helping to solve problems?”
  • Take the sales hat off and integrate yourself into your client’s lives. Understand what their problems are, and if you can be alongside them during the inevitable transitions in their life, you can deepen the relationship. It’s about relevancy and solving problems. The sales and referrals will come naturally out of that.
  • Life has transitions that create challenges along the way. Cannon helps his clients with a wealth plan that keeps their legacy and lifestyle intact.



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