What Business Development REALLY Means, According to Jane Allen, Jeff Berardi, and Henning Streubel

Mo asks Jane Allen: What is your personal definition of business development?

  • Jane’s definition is simply proactive problem solving. If you are trying to sell something, it should be something they need and may not know they need it. It’s about showing them a problem they have as well as the solution.
  • People don’t like to be sold to, but they do like to buy.
  • If you’re struggling with being proactive, realize that it’s not the job of the prospect to call you or respond to your email. It’s your job to get the meeting.
  • One of the best kinds of meetings is when someone says that they are not going to work with you, then at least you’re not going to waste your time.
  • Don’t waste their time. Even if you think you have all the answers, you don’t. The goal of the first meeting is to ask thought provoking questions and to determine whether you have a solution to their problem.
  • If you can’t resolve everything in one meeting, the goal is to secure the next. The prospect should understand the importance of the next meeting and you should give them enough of a cliffhanger that they anticipate it.


Mo asks Jeff Berardi: What is your personal definition of business development?

  • Business development is creating a pipeline of future growth opportunities. You won’t know when they come to fruition or how, but it’s a steady process of cultivating and building relationships.
  • There is never enough when it comes to business development because you never know when the well is going to go dry. By having a large pipeline, you have the ability to choose who you work with rather than having to take whatever comes your way.
  • The lack of control is a major source of stress for people. Business development activities give you back the control over who you work with and how.
  • You may be busy, but you must set aside time for business development opportunities or you might end up resentful of how much you are working.
  • By having more opportunities than you need, you can say no to stuff you don’t want and the more you’re going to get paid. You also regain control on who you work with and which big ideas you get to work on.
  • The commonality in cases where people are struggling with business development and people who thrive is fear. For those who are already successful, it’s a fear of losing what they’ve achieved. For those who are struggling, it’s a fear that they can’t be successful or that business development is beyond them.
  • When you change the mindset from a fear of not being capable, to being afraid of too much success, you open the door of opportunity. The rainmakers have learned the tools they need to succeed and they have confidence in the process.
  • Knowing that business development is a learnable skill is what flips someone from fear to confidence.


Mo asks Henning Streubel: What is your personal definition of business development?

  • Henning prefers the term relationship development, which he considers the foundation of every successful service provider.
  • Henning learned early in his career not to take things personally. If someone doesn’t respond to him, he assumes they must be busy and it’s not about the other person not liking him.
  • Many experts hesitate to reach out when they don’t get a response right away. It’s important to understand what matters to people and to offer them something they are interested in.
  • Understand how their mind works on the professional side and send them information that would appeal to that, but don’t be afraid to also reach out on the personal side.
  • The biggest barrier to relationship success is us.
  • Henning has a process for understanding where his relationships are in three categories: professional, personal, and friendship. He is always trying to think about how to develop a relationship to take it to the next level.
  • Simply writing down the top five to ten relationships that are most important for your future self is a powerful tool.
  • Knowing where you want a relationship to go helps you understand how you can be the most helpful.
  • One of Henning’s mentors told him early in his career to keep doing the right thing and success will come. Investing in the right relationships will eventually have a commercial benefit.
  • You don’t need to have all the answers if you can refer a prospect to someone else who can help.
  • Role model the behavior for your team if you want that behavior to permeate. Make the time to show that you put the mindset into practice and celebrate the effort that people are putting into the work.
  • Celebrating the little things where you went above and beyond what a normal professional relationship would be. That creates momentum and the right spirit to invest in relationships.



Mentioned in this Episode:





Jeff Berardi on LinkedIn

Jeff Berardi’s Bio


on.bcg.com/henning – Use the envelope icon on this page to get in touch with Henning directly

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