The Business Development Story That Changed Everything for Warren Shiver

By Mo Bunnell

Mo asks Warren Shiver: Tell me of a business development story that you are really proud of.

Mo asks Warren Shiver: Tell me of a business development story that you are really proud of.

  • Warren left his day job and started his own consultancy in 2010. He created his Protemoi list and started working through it to get things started. Warren met Paul Duval, the senior vice-president of sales at Central Garden, a billion dollar provider of lawn and grass products.
  • That very first relationship developed into a three-month sales cycle and a seven-figure engagement that kicked off Warren’s consultancy.
  • The client gave Warren some feedback after the fact when Warren asked him why they went with his company, and he responded that Warren asked three questions and then shut up and listened as Paul talked for 45 minutes.
  • Warren was also able to bring in a couple other key people to show they could build trust as a team and collaboratively build the scope together.
  • Listening and learning early on and then building the solution together were the two key things that landed the business.
  • It’s way more powerful to learn their priorities using their own words.
  • When someone shares their personal perspective, it’s highly correlated to liking you more.
  • Early on in the conversation with Paul, it became apparent that he knew what he was doing. He had a vision for what he wanted done, and a pitch from Warren’s point of view wouldn’t have landed right. Listening first helped Warren stand out from the other consultants bidding for the business.
  • Even experienced professionals like Mo can fall into the trap of wanting to speak about themselves first.
  • Warren’s client was in the process of a complete business transformation, so it was important as a new firm to show that it wasn’t just Warren working on it. There is a lot of power in co-creation and the complementary skill sets of the additional people played a big role in the success of the project.
  • A key takeaway is to ask for feedback whether you win or lose the business. It helps keep you grounded and helps you understand what your approach might be missing.

Mentioned in this Episode:

The Seven Steps for Sales Transformation