The Business Development Story That Changed Everything for Brent Atkins

By Mo Bunnell

Mo asks Brent Atkins: Tell us a business development story that you are really proud of.

  • Brent tells the story of his days before Progyny as a middle market sales person for a national carrier. He had a competitive product and was finding a lot of success at the time, but there was one broker relationship that he couldn’t crack.
  • He had to change the paradigm of his relationship by turning down a request for proposal from them, and in the ensuing conversation, he found out why he wasn’t getting the traction from them before.
  • After sitting down with the client for two and a half hours, he became one of Brent’s close friends, and Brent won three out of five of the next opportunities that he sent in.
  • The approach of wanting to learn what was lacking in Brent's approach was the key to opening up the relationship. Asking for help or advice is one of the biggest bonding things you can do to create trust and build an authentic relationship.
  • They spent roughly half that time talking about business and getting into the details, and the rest, connecting with him on a personal level. Winning the business is great, but Brent considers turning that person into a friend the biggest win of all.
  • Being vulnerable was key in that interaction. Vulnerability is something that he teaches his team to embrace, and to be willing to learn why they didn’t win when it happens. It’s about using the loss to set up a future win.
  • Brent hears the response “no for now” quite frequently. If that’s the case, he encourages his team to figure out what the hurdle was and develop a strategy to keep the relationship alive with adding value, Give to Gets, and providing intellectual capital that makes you the easy choice in the future.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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