What Business Development REALLY Means, According to Jonathan Reckford, Katrina Johnson, and Tyler Sweatt with Mo Bunnell

Mo asks Jonathan Reckford: What’s your personal definition of growth?

  • Ultimately, it’s all about impact, but in order to make an impact you need fuel.
  • Creating complex partnerships is very aligned with good development practices, which is valuable for Jonathan because growth at Habitat for Humanity means having conversations around fundraising.
  • When he made the mindset switch to solving someone’s problem, raising money became much easier and simpler.
  • It’s not about pressuring, or trying to get somebody to do something they don’t want to do. It’s about really trying to understand what people are trying to accomplish or the impact they want to have, and then looking for a fit and where there is one, finding ways you can help them have that impact in a really joyful way.
  • Before a big meeting, you have to do the research. Jonathan will have a brief on the person’s biographical information, passion, and overall strategic goals so that he can create alignment in the potential partnership.
  • Creating win/wins is the goal and when you can do that, growth becomes easy.
  • Negotiation is usually won or lost based on preparation and framing, not on the actual tactics of the conversation.
  • After the research, the first step of the meeting is creating a point of connection and establishing the relationship.
  • The goal of the first meeting is to come away with clear next steps, not to close the deal.


Mo asks Katrina Johnson: What is your personal definition of business development?

  • Katrina likes helping people. For her, business development is about cultivating opportunities to help people.
  • Business development doesn’t always have a great reinforcement mechanism, but having a process established makes it much more consistent.
  • Creating a habit around communication that makes it simpler, more meaningful, and consistent is what has helped Katrina stay the course.
  • Using the tools and communication methods that your client uses is crucial. Katrina tries to make her communications quick and useful when touching base with someone and on whatever platform works for them. Lots of little touches can be extremely powerful relationship builders.
  • Katrina carves out time on Mondays to reach out to people, but she also has notes on her calendar and a Protemoi list that help her keep track of communications. Just having a list of names of the most important people to you can be enough to encourage you to take action.


Mo asks Tyler Sweatt: What is your personal definition of business development?

  • Simply put, it’s all about value creation.
  • The entire spectrum of taking a prospect from completely cold to raving fan is the process of growth.
  • Content creation is part of the effort, similar to an at-scale give-to-get. When someone hits the pipeline, Tyler focuses on qualifying them immediately and moving quickly on closing the deal.
  • For marketing and lead generation, you need to figure out the three most important metrics you need to cover and orient on those. That will make everything else easier.
  • Referrals are a big indicator of both effectiveness and product-market fit.
  • Try to avoid measuring too many metrics at the same time.
  • You need to think about business development from the customer’s buying process and how you can remove as much friction from their buying process as possible. Make it as easy to buy from you as possible.
  • Focus on a positive buying experience and make it easy for the customer. Being customer-centered will be extremely valuable in everything you work on.



Mentioned in this Episode:




Our Better Angels: Seven Simple Virtues That Will Change Your Life and the World by Jonathan Reckford




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