May 15, 2021

Kara Goldin Discusses How Great Business Developers Become Undaunted and Unstoppable

Kara Goldin Discusses How Great Business Developers Become Undaunted and Unstoppable

Kara Goldin shares how she persevered through difficult setbacks and challenges on her way to growing a $100 million beverage company by being relentlessly curious and creating her own opportunities out of adversity. Learn how great business...

Kara Goldin shares how she persevered through difficult setbacks and challenges on her way to growing a $100 million beverage company by being relentlessly curious and creating her own opportunities out of adversity. Learn how great business developers can ensure their long-term success by thinking differently, always looking for the opportunities around them, and creating a persistent mindset around adding value to their client’s business.


Mo asks Kara Goldin: What is your best advice on how to focus on business development, grow our book of business, and grow our career?

  • The first thing you can do is take care of your existing customer base since they were the customers that got everything started.
  • Our natural instinct is to fear the companies with more money and more experience, but historically speaking those are the companies that end up in trouble because of their inability to change.
  • The key to great business development is to figure out how to think differently. To look for new opportunities you need to come at them from the point of view of the underdog with passion and curiosity.
  • As a consultant, sitting back and waiting for an RFP to land in your inbox is not a good strategy. You become stuck in reactive mode and more commoditized, with a low chance of winning. Creating your own opportunities is much more important.
  • Kara learned early on not to listen to all the rules, and by doing so she ended up gaining access to an incredible amount of opportunities. She relates the story of landing her first job out of college and how the skill of “half-listening” and just being willing to learn and put herself out there opened doors for her all over the country.
  • Don’t answer for other people. When it comes to pursuing relationships, don’t dismiss yourself before you try. Overthinking is what prevents people from creating the relationships and networks they want to have. Have fun with it and brush off the rejection.
  • Perseverance is 100% a skill that you can learn and master.
  • History definitely helps us if we allow it to help us. Look back at what worked and what didn’t.


Mo asks Kara Goldin: What can we do to create and close more opportunities?

  • Look around at the unique opportunities that other people are not paying attention to. The key to being the best salesperson or business development person is always looking for a way to solve problems and thinking like the customer.
  • Don’t be afraid to think differently and put yourself in the shoes of your customer so you can see their problems from their perspective.
  • The key to understanding people is in understanding what they really want. What is the one thing that they care about most and how can you help them get it?
  • Most business developers make the mistake of starting with themselves and what they want.
  • Creating opportunities is fundamentally about listening to people and understanding what problem they want to solve. Kara is an incredibly curious person who likes to ask questions and this is how she finds the opportunity to help someone.
  • Kara gains more inspiration by learning from other businesses outside her industry. She prefers to expose herself to new ideas and new approaches by purposely putting herself in situations where she’s going to learn something new.
  • Just being a good person and doing what you do well every single day is how you attract more opportunities into your life. Acknowledging someone else’s problem and authentically trying to help them with it is the simple secret to success.


Mo asks Kara Goldin: What is the best way to deepen relationships with the people who matter to us?

  • Deepening relationships stems from understanding what other people’s goals are and what you have in common with them.
  • Before meetings, Kara doesn’t do much research because she wants to understand what’s important to them directly.
  • People remember the surreal moments in their life. Unlikely shared experiences with someone are a great way to create a connection with them and develop an authentic relationship.
  • You have to do the work and have a presentation ready, but if you can relate with the prospect and have a genuine conversation with them it can be even more persuasive. Building a relationship in unique ways is a simple way to set you apart. The first interaction is often awkward, but if you push through and break the ice, the next interaction can be seamless.
  • To rekindle older relationships, engage them along the lines of something that you share. Just reaching out and making an offer to have them join you for an event or webinar is a great way to start off and almost no one does it.
  • Asking why is a powerful tool to finding a solution to problems. Being in the pursuit of a solution can allow you to become a connector for other people. If you can be a bridge for other people, you become more valuable to them and they will often want to reciprocate.


Mo asks Kara Goldin: What is your habit when you get told no?

  • Kara was a gymnast when she was growing up but she never really excelled at it. It was during those training sessions where she learned the discipline to always look for the good in the experience.
  • Kara tells the story of how she lost Starbucks as a client for the Hint beverage company, a loss of 40% of her business in the span of two weeks. Despite the loss, having the product in Starbucks was the foundation of her opportunity to get into Amazon’s grocery business and led to Kara realizing that customer data is crucial.
  • After being told by both Starbucks and Amazon that they weren’t going to share their customer data with her, Kara realized that she needed to focus on business development and start her own direct-to-consumer business. Seven years later, direct-to-consumer sales are now over 50% of the business.
  • There were plenty of naysayers that said beverages can’t be sold over the mail but business has tripled since the beginning of the pandemic, which wouldn’t have happened had Kara listened to the people saying it couldn’t be done.
  • Challenges and failures are the learnings that help you to do better in the long run.
  • Great growth-oriented business developers take a setback and feel the pain, yet realize that there is something to learn from and opportunities can still come from it.
  • When you get told no, it’s important to understand their why. Maybe that deal is not meant to be part of your journey but there is always something to learn from the experience and opportunity to find out more. Get all the info you can. A phone call about why you lost may not sound like a fun conversation but can be very enlightening.
  • Be a resource to people that is a joy to be around. Resourcefulness is a crucial aspect of business development.
  • Understanding the probabilities also helps give you perspective. If you are swinging for the fences and have a low probability of success and you know that, if it doesn’t work out it’s not going to be so disappointing.


Mo shares his insights from the habits of Kara Goldin.

  • Think differently. Expose yourself to lots of different ways of thinking by going outside of your industry and learning from people who do things differently. Typically when you go to conferences with like-minded people who are doing the same things you are, you tend towards the average of those people.
  • By exposing yourself to completely different industries, you open yourself up to incredible insights. If you share the same struggle but day-to-day work is very different, that’s where you can find some of your best ideas.
  • This is the reason mastermind groups can be so powerful. If you aren't part of a group with diverse perspectives and experiences, either join one or create one.
  • Create your own opportunities. The best opportunities are created before a client knows they have them. This goes back to the “move without the ball” concept from Mike Daimler. Average business developers wait until they receive an opportunity and then they react. Great business developers create their own opportunities by investing in the potential client and put themselves in a position where they are the natural choice.
  • Offer your time upfront at no charge and dig into a client’s problem. Start helping them and end it at the point where you should get paid to do the real heavy lifting.
  • A great give-to-get satisfies three criteria. It’s relatively easy for you, it should be valuable to the client, and it should lead to the next step.
  • The number one correlation to success is to keep helping people. Great business developers are undaunted and keep reaching out and finding ways to help. They create connections and show that they care.
  • Most people quit after one setback. Great business developers are undaunted, continue to be helpful, and are always adding value.



Mentioned in this Episode: - Get her book Undaunted