Managing Business Development Conversations

We could devote an entire course to conducting business development conversations, but in this lesson we focus on some of the basics:

  • Approach these conversations with a “helping” mindset, not a “selling” mindset.
  • Consultative selling is about finding a bespoke solution for the client. It is a collaborative process.
  • Plan business development conversations with questions, rather than “selling” statements. Ask more than you tell.
  • Approach social connections with business development potential with genuine curiosity and a helpful attitude. Know what you want from the conversation so you are clear when you ask for help.

Here’s the video:


Plan out a business development conversation with one or more of your contacts. Research their business and their personal background (, google search, etc…). Write some questions you would like to ask them about their career, profession, and company. What would be a good question that would reveal a possible business change or legal opportunity for you to offer help? What question(s) might show your willingness and ability to help them personally?

Then, set up a meeting (in-person or by phone or video), and have the conversation.

What did you learn? What questions worked, and which ones didn’t? Did you find an opportunity to help her or him? Did you determine a next step or meeting?

Additional Resources

Here are a few articles related to BD conversations that you might find helpful:

How to Avoid Asking for Business (A few ways to avoid the cold ask), Merrilyn Astin Tarlton

No Need to Walk on Eggshells with Follow Up Emails, Mike O’Horo

Are You Creating and Converting Sales Opportunities?, Mike O’Horo

Closing a Sale: How to Eliminate the Pain and Fear, Mike O’Horo

What Prospects Really Need is Help Making a Good Decision , Mike O’Horo

Magic Business Development Pill for Lawyers, Mike O’Horo

Seven Ways You May be Sabotaging Your Business Development Efforts, Sally Schmidt

Best way to conclude a marketing conversation, Mike O’Horo