What Business Development REALLY Means, According to Jane Allen

Mo asks Mike Duffy: What is your personal definition of business development?

  • Simply put, business development is helping others, connecting dots, and developing healthy and long lasting relationships.
  • When you understand who your client is, whoever that happens to be in the moment, and add value for them, that’s how you get stuff done.
  • Where is the value chain and how are you adding value? It doesn’t end with the person you are talking to right now.
  • Servant leadership is the foundation for Mike’s relationship philosophy. He’s always asking himself internally about how he can be helpful to not only his client, but also his client’s clients.
  • When you ask the right questions, you get some interesting answers. Questions allow you to understand what motivates and drives someone, what concerns them, and what brings them joy. When you’re in a dot-connecting mode, all of that info helps you know who to link up.
  • Helping people when there is no chance of commercial gain is your moment of truth. Connecting dots for people is how you leave a legacy.
  • It’s worth the fight. Choose your attitude every day and build your resilience over time so you can keep pushing forward.
  • If your definition of business development is helping people, getting a no every once in a while is not an issue.


Mo asks Bill Ruprecht: What story did your parents tell you that shaped how you thought about business development?

  • Bill’s mother was always extremely bright and driven, but she wasn’t terribly happy in her life. His father had the knack of being able to find commonality with almost anyone. It was at the dinner table where Bill was constantly challenged with questions on how he would deal with a variety of hypothetical situations.
  • When Bill started in the antique business he was working with Persian rug dealers and in the process he learned what was relevant to them and how to build rapport, despite the considerable difference in their culture.
  • Bill understood that those conversations with his parents around the dinner table were like batting practice, and those skills served him well in his work later on in life.
  • When you do something for a long time, you give yourself the opportunity to get lucky. If you position yourself in the right way and do the work, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful, but it does mean you can get lucky.
  • There wasn’t one single pivot moment where Bill got lucky and his career took off. It was a gradual process of taking on more risks and responsibilities over time and pushing past the fear to take the leap each time.


Mo asks Cyril Peupion: What is your personal definition of business development?

  • Cyril’s definition has evolved over the years. What began as selling became serving.
  • Cyril is very clear on who he helps and how he can do it, as well as the people that he’s not right for.
  • Cyril’s passion for what he does is derived from clarity on who can help. When it comes to first meetings, the goal is not to sell his services but to simply find out if they are a good match and to find the right solution for the prospect, even if that means referring them to someone else.
  • It’s vital to surround yourself with the right people and have an environment of accountability while keeping a mentality of continuous learning.
  • Masterminds and accountability partners are crucial for your personal and business growth. Find people who are playing at the same level as you and with the same giving mindset.
  • People typically allow their day to be filled up but all the little things that inevitably come up. One of the first exercises Cyril has leadership teams walk through is creating their ideal week, and then creating a calendar by working backward from the most important things you can do with your time.



Mentioned in this Episode:


Mike Duffy on LinkedIn


Scroll to Top