Jan. 8, 2022

Jeff Berardi on The Power of an Established Business Development System

Jeff Berardi on The Power of an Established Business Development System

Jeff Berardi shares how the business development skills he developed during his career became the foundation for his consulting practice’s success after launching right at the beginning of the pandemic. Discover the mindset shift that takes someone...

Jeff Berardi shares how the business development skills he developed during his career became the foundation for his consulting practice’s success after launching right at the beginning of the pandemic. Discover the mindset shift that takes someone from struggling with business development to becoming the rainmaker of their organization, why you need to understand sales if you want to succeed at marketing, and the counterintuitive way to showcase your expertise and land paying clients that most consultants get completely backward.


Mo asks Jeff Berardi: Tell us the story of the time where you realized that business development was great.

  • Jeff first realized the importance of business development in the marketing class at business school.
  • The first question his professor asked was “Who here is interested in pursuing a career in marketing? And who here is interested in pursuing a career in sales?” The majority of the class had their hands up for the first part and not the second part, and that was the first lesson of the class.
  • If you’re thinking about marketing and you don’t have a clear understanding and appreciation for sales you have a fundamental disconnect. Marketing is meant to drive sales.
  • Where a lot of organizations fail is turning the one-to-many marketing experience into one-to-one sales conversations.
  • Nobody hires someone after they give a speech, they have to talk with them about how they can solve their problems.
  • When Jeff took over as CMO, he introduced the organization’s first business development group. A lot of the difficulty an organization faces is when marketing and sales are not in alignment and are treated as completely separate activities.
  • Jeff didn’t just publish unique content. He created events around the content and a follow-up process for turning it into actionable conversations.
  • The key is to work backwards from the goal of the campaign. For Jeff, that meant showcasing their expertise to companies that they wanted to work with in Europe. He started off with a survey to understand what is happening with potential clients.
  • Once the research was conducted, they discovered that some issues were local and some were more widespread, but no matter the scope the research became the basis for the report that could be leveraged in a number of different ways.
  • This sort of deep dive research into a client’s problems and needs can be as broad or as narrow as you need it to be.


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 Jeff Berardi: What is your favorite GrowBIG or Snowball System principle?

  • Build everything together is Jeff’s all-time favorite principle. When you work with something in conjunction with your prospect they are going to like you, and the work, more.
  • Jeff uses the example of bake-at-home cake mixes and how one small change that increased the engagement of the consumer in the process led to an increase in sales.
  • Everybody wants to add value in life, and when you send somebody a project that’s done they have no way to participate.
  • Even a small step or contribution can increase the sense of ownership on a project. Include your client in the planning process and ditch the inclination to have a perfect fully baked proposal.
  • You can’t give too much to the client, but giving them small steps that get them engaged on the big picture helps them understand the value you are bringing to the table. Work together to nail down the scope of the project and get their stamp on what’s going to be done.
  • You convey your authority in the details. Not asking for the client’s thoughts and perspective can actually be the weaker position compared to asking for input.


Mo asks Jeff Berardi: Tell us about a business development story that you are particularly proud of.

  • Jeff has had a long and successful career, but his proudest business development story happened at the very beginning of the pandemic when he launched his own consulting practice.
  • Jeff had the training and the experience leading up to that moment, and the launch of his consulting practice simply became reaching out to his contacts and helping them figure things out.
  • Those initial relationships and just being valuable eventually turned into client work. Even when Jeff became busy with client work he made sure to stick to the business development habits that built those relationships.
  • Having the Snowball System to rely on was a big asset. The habits of business development combined with being helpful became the basis for Jeff’s consulting success.
  • When you experience the result of the process, you get more motivation to keep it going. Finding the time to continue business development activities once you become successful is challenging but vital to continued growth.
  • For Jeff, he made sure to put names and tasks in his calendar about following up. These became visual reminders that he couldn’t ignore and kept him on track. To-dos can always be kicked down the road, blocking off time is hard to ignore.


Mo asks Jeff Berardi: If you could record a video and send it back to your younger self, what would it say?

  • Jeff would tell himself to ask more questions and to be more intentional on directing the conversation to the ways he could help the other party.
  • Asking questions and getting the client engaged is much more beneficial than just telling people what you do. A lot of consultants make the mistake of just wanting to showcase their expertise, but the counterintuitive part is that by getting the other person to talk about what’s happening on their end they view you as having that expertise.
  • There are three big benefits of asking questions: they light up the pleasure center of the person being asked, you learn their perspectives in their specific words, and it highly correlates to likeability.
  • Asking questions releases the pressure you have when you assume you know what the client needs and then telling them how you can help without really understanding the situation.
  • The end goal of your questions is to understand their needs and how you can address them. The essence of the questions is to build trust and also to help the client understand what they need because often they haven’t defined the problem precisely on their own.
  • If you uncover their needs over the course of the conversation in an authentic and meaningful way that shows you understand their issues and you have the skill set to help them, it feels less like you aren’t trying to sell them something and more like you are trying to simply help them.



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