What Business Development REALLY Means, According to Cannon Carr, Debby Moorman, and Brian Caffarelli with Mo Burnell

Mo asks Cannon Carr: What is your personal definition of business development?

  • If you have a craft that you know and love and want to grow, you are naturally going to step into business development so you might as well do it right.
  • For Cannon, business development is about connecting people and ideas. He thinks of it as purposeful engagement that connects those two things.
  • Connecting people with ideas often becomes deeply personal. During the pandemic, Cannon noticed a number of clients struggling with aging parents so they put a lot of effort into coming up with and connecting clients with ideas to help manage the issue.
  • Taxes and the rapidly changing legislative landscape has been another area where Cannon and his team have been working with clients to stay ahead of the curve.
  • The foundation is always being helpful rather than looking directly for business. It’s not about the revenue, it’s about enriching lives.
  • Sometimes the solution falls outside of the firm’s specialty and that’s okay as long as the end result is helping a person out.
  • You have to think of your relationships as a portfolio with investements in people all the time. Being proactive and helpful will eventually pay off.
  • Not everything will connect. You have to look for additional opportunities to be helpful and keep reaching out.
  • Think about business development as solving problems through connecting people and ideas together. If you are doing a good job, you will naturally get your share of the business. Proactive engagement is vital for service businesses.


Mo asks Debby Moorman: What is your personal definition of business development?

  • Business development is identifying high-value relationships, investing in them, and finding ways to bring value to those relationships.
  • It’s about matching what you have to offer with the needs of your market and customizing it for each person.
  • Figuring what the client needs is fundamentally about asking the right questions and listening closely to the answer.
  • The key in any conversation is that if you’re talking more about yourself than you are about them it’s not been a successful conversation.
  • Debby’s personal philosophy is if she can help the other person solve their problem, either with something she can offer or by pointing them in the direction of someone else who can help, then the day will come when she does have something that she can offer them.
  • For an hour-long meeting, Debby prepares for at least double that time to make sure she deeply understands the person and the company she is meeting with. The more she can become a student of their business, the more she can make that initial conversation helpful.
  • She will write out a handful of open-ended questions to get them talking and sharing about the challenges in their business.
  • One of the biggest gaps in a good conversation that leads nowhere is that there needs to be a next step. The questions and preparation get the conversation going, but coming up with two or three paths that could lead to a give-to-get or a second conversation is the goal.
  • The goal of the first meeting is to get the second meeting. You need a reason to get back together again.
  • A good rule of thumb for a meeting is that the other person should be talking ⅔ of the time. One of the skills that Debby has had to work on over the years is the power of silence. We have a natural inclination to fill the space, but it’s okay to wait. It takes practice to learn these skills but it’s more than worth the effort.


Mo asks Brian Caffarelli: What is your personal definition of business development?

  • Brian likes to think of business development as the art and science of guiding the buyer through their journey to an informed and confident decision.
  • Just because you know the science, that doesn’t mean you’ll be great at business development. It’s equal parts the art of empathy and flexibility, and science of habits and communication.
  • Mountain climbing guides are great metaphors for business development. Really good salespeople are helping people reach their own personal summit and get what they need to experience from the mountain.
  • The defining characteristic of a guide is the ability to inspire trust. Trust comes before the sale. You need to be able to see ahead of corners for your buyers, and to challenge their thinking where appropriate.
  • The challenge for the guide is in focusing on what the buyer needs over their own needs.
  • Work on the skills and behaviors that inspire trust in you and live your life with integrity so you are worthy of that trust. Study why people buy, because that is going to be your biggest point of leverage for creating a great buying experience.



Mentioned in this Episode:





Debby Moorman on LinkedIn



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