The Business Development Story That Changed Everything for Jane Allen, Read Davis, and Katrina Johnson

Mo asks Jane Allen: Tell us a business development story that you are really proud of.

  • Jane tells the story from the early 2000’s during a time when the people they were serving in corporate America were being overwhelmed by the explosion of data. One fateful dinner and “what if” scenario later, Jane started collaborating with a firm to solve real world problems with a solution that was unheard of at the time.
  • As an entrepreneur, Jane didn’t take time to reflect on the success since she was so focused on the execution. Looking back now, finding a partner that was willing to take a risk and then deliver something that enabled her clients to practice law in a completely different way is something she’s very proud of.
  • In terms of her career, Jane is most proud of the incredible people she worked with and learned from, as well as being willing to take the chance on herself and her vision for her business.
  • Reach for your goals and take the chance. Rejection is a part of life, but you will never achieve anything if you don’t try.


Mo asks Read Davis: Tell me about a business development story that you are really proud of.

  • Read formerly worked for one of the largest brokerage firms in the world, and when he first came to work with McGriff they were often David going up against Goliath.
  • Read recalls several different stories where the relationships they built helped their clients take care of their people. Each experience gave Read additional skills and confidence to take into the next.
  • One, in particular, stands out where Read was handling a casino in Las Vegas. As the real estate guy on the team, Read was meeting with banks and people on the team to help them through the financial crisis.
  • They broke the paradigm by bringing people in from all over to show the client what they could do. The best part of the sales story is that four years later the casino was sold to Blackstone and the client referred Read and his team as the broker of choice to the new buyer.
  • It’s all about the connectivity of the relationships and adding value while playing the long game.
  • The team was what made the difference. By listening intently to what the prospect needed, that got the team motivated to deliver. They recognized that the deal was a major opportunity for the firm and they rose to the challenge.


Mo asks Katrina Johnson: What is a business development story that you are particularly proud of?

  • Katrina’s story occurred five years ago when she went on a trip to meet a candidate for a President role at a textile manufacturer. Katrina knew she was skeptical, but didn’t realize how skeptical.
  • After the candidate was hired, Katrina ended up working with her for the first six months and through her unique knowledge of how that particular organization functioned was able to help considerably.
  • Her relationship with this one skeptical person led to additional relationships and business.
  • To win her over Katrina did three things. She didn’t make it about her and take the skepticism personally, she got curious about why she was skeptical and what it could teach her, and she waited for holes to open for her to go deeper.
  • It’s easy to take offense from skepticism, but Katrina had to learn early on as a physician that you have to earn respect.
  • You can’t look at things from a scientific perspective when you’re stuck in your own head. Being curious about the root of the person’s skepticism makes it objective and less about you.
  • Being candid with the client and honest about her perspectives was key to building trust and winning the skeptic over.
  • Divorce yourself from the outcome and focus on doing the right thing.
  • Quieting the anxious and emotional part of us can lead to more creativity and effectiveness. Focusing on process instead of outcomes is how you can control that.



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