The Four Levels of Business Development Expertise

Hi, this is Mo Bunnell, your business development expert and author of “The Snowball System: How to Win More Business and Turn Clients into Raving Fans”. I just taped a video on the idea of adding the two pieces of expertise. One as your sort of core craft, things you know about that no one else knows or few people know about. And that’s sort of one axis. And one axis being business development.

How can you be really, really great at business development? And it’s the pairing of those two that I see just launches people’s careers. When you can do both things, not just one of the two, but both things. That’s when you’re invaluable. That made me think. There was a little four step model that I thought was just really powerful, but it didn’t make it through the editing process of “The Snowball System”.

And I’ve never put it anywhere before. And it gives the four major steps of how people navigate the process of becoming really, really great at business development. And I thought I might share that with you. Here’s your four steps.

If you want to become great at business development, step one, be a student. And I know this sounds a bit silly like you should just step over it, but so many people don’t realize that business development is their key to success. It’s when you awaken, when you realize that business development is a craft. It’s not magic. It’s not something you’re born with. It’s something that’s worthy of study and getting better at it. It’s a craft of its own. That’s step one and some people never get there. So that’s why it’s a step.

The second step is solo. And what, what we mean by that is when somebody’s done enough business development that they are great enough at it that they can fuel their own business, if that makes sense. If they’re a professional, they can bring in enough business to keep them busy and maybe some associates or people that support them. If you’re an account manager at a really large organization, say In-N-Out or a large healthcare company, this would be when you’re good enough that somebody lets you lead an account. That’s sort of solo. You’re now one from a business development perspective. You’re at the you’re at the top of some kind of small pyramid. You’re growing business either for a book of business, a portfolio or an account. That’s the second step.

The third one is small team. When you get so good at this that you can go a step up and now mentor a bunch of people that are leading client accounts or their own book of business or their own small team, that is a discipline of its own. At large healthcare companies that might be called an account executive instead of an account manager. At a professional service firm, you might be senior partner instead of a partner. Now you know business development well enough that you’re either so darn good at it that your platform, all the business you’re bringing in requires a bunch of partner level like people or account management kind of people that are managing accounts. That’s one way to get there. The other way to get there is to be so great at mentoring and training business development that you’re now building this team below you, that now is getting really, really great at the things you used to do.

That’s the third step. The fourth step is where you can lead a large team. Where you are so great at this you’ve built out business development systems that scale. Now you’re not just managing say 50 or a hundred people. You might be managing a thousand people. Now you have account executives that report to you. Now you’ve got senior partners that report to you. You might be a practice leader, a regional leader, something like that. And the step to get there is to get so good at this individual mentoring around business development that you’ve built systems that scale that can now help others do that. You’re at the top of a pyramid, if you will.

So those are your four steps. Solo, you’re awake, you know business developments at craft. You need to study it. So, or excuse me, student was the first one. Solo is the second one where you’ve gotten good enough at it. You can keep yourself busy or run in one account. Maybe two. Um, the next level is small team where you’ve now got several of those people reporting to you that requires a different set of skills. Now you have to learn to teach and mentor others in business development because you’re so good at it. And then that last one. Large team, and that’s where you build systems that scale where a massive organization can do all the things that you had done prior. Why is this important? It’s important because to know what to do next, to know what part of business development to do next, you’ve gotta know where you’re at.

“The Snowball System” is a great resource to go from student to solo and even the small team and large team because it teaches you the systems that you can teach others. And specifically as you get higher up in your career, Chapter 10 called ‘Creating Momentum in Teams’ is fantastic as you get to those two upper levels of the four.

So I hope this model helps you. And I hope it helps in the sense that you can figure out where you’re at. You can figure out where you want to go, and then it tells you the skills you need to learn next to become great at it and make that next step up.

So as with all of our videos, we hope that this one helps you help your clients succeed. Well, that’s it for today. Thank you so much for watching. For more content like this, check out my most recent video and be sure to like them so other people can find out about us.

But make sure you subscribe. That’s how you’ll be automatically alerted to the great content that we put out. And if you want access to a comprehensive system for business development, then just buy my book. “The Snowball System” at Amazon. The link is in the description below. Thanks again.

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