How To Avoid 4 Major Business Development Mistakes


January 28, 2021

“Business development is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Jim Ries is the Director of Business Development at Offit Kurman, P.A. Jim talks with Anthony about common mistakes businesses make and what you can do to avoid them entirely.


Build Meaningful Relationships

Jim: “Networking is about knowing more people. Connecting is about knowing people more So, I think it’s really important to go narrow and deep with your network, and build these relationships with people one-on-one. These can be people who are business owners, referral sources, evangelists. These are people who will grow to know, like, and trust you, and will feel comfortable directly giving you business.”

Jim: “Trust is really key and it takes a while to build that. You’ve got to build a relationship. You’ve got to be yourself and you’ve got to have a plan of multiple touches. So, I’m reaching out to people all the time. I’m inviting them to events, I’m sending them articles, I’m congratulating them on a new role that they might have with their company, or a new win that they’ve had. That’s what works for me.”


Embracing Your Confidence

Jim: “You’ve got to test your inner strength. You’ve got to find out what is your comfort zone. You’ve got to be authentic. You’ve got to be yourself. You’ve got to show that you’re human. So, if you’re an introvert, don’t pretend to be an extrovert, and vice versa. Build your process around that so that it is authentic and that you appear to be exactly what you sound like. You’ve got to be consistent with that.”

Jim: “One thing that the pandemic has brought to all of us is a sense of authenticity, a sense of empathy, a sense of vulnerability. So there’s nothing that’s off limits. Check your confidence, but when you’re talking to people, it’s okay to talk about personal things because we’re all dealing with these issues. The pandemic has resulted in improving our ability to talk about these things and be comfortable.”


Market Yourself Consistently

Jim: “Business development is a marathon, not a sprint. Number one, if you’re going to get involved on social media, which is a great form of marketing and it’s free, do it consistently. Number two, don’t be a lurker. A lurker is someone who just scrolls through LinkedIn or Facebook, looks at pictures, never likes, never comments, never shares. Don’t be a lurker. Most of the people out there are lurkers, but it really doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to get involved in social media.”

Jim: “I’m very active on LinkedIn. I’d go through my LinkedIn, I’d comment, I’d like, and then I started posting on a regular basis. People start seeing your activity on LinkedIn and they notice it. If you’re sharing or producing organic material and content on LinkedIn, it has to be relevant to who you are and what you do. I’m posting about networking, about connecting, about marketing.”

Jim: “Find out what’s the best social media for you. Is it LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram? Study the people who are having success. See what they’re doing. See how often they’re posting. See what kind of content they’re posting. I’m really committed to posting every day, relevant and meaningful content. I’m committed to sharing it where it’s relevant and meaningful. It does take time, but it’s worthwhile and it’s free.”

Listen & Provide Value

Jim: “When I open up LinkedIn and see messages, all of a sudden, you have this long thread of sell, sell, sell. Why would I ever buy from any of those people?  I know a lot of it is automated messaging, but why would I ever buy from any of those people? I don’t care what they’re selling or giving away. I know nothing about them. So, number one, if you come out on the gates trying to sell, then they’re going to run for the hills. Don’t come out of the gates trying to sell. You’ve got to build a relationship. The best way to start building and cultivating that relationship is to be interested, not interesting.”

Jim: “If you’re interested, you’re asking questions, you’re curious, and you’re learning about the prospect that you’re talking to. If you’re interesting, you’re doing all the talking and you’re selling. Just ask good questions. Everyone loves to answer questions, everyone. I think there’s like this chemical thing that happens in your brain when people are asking questions and it makes you feel good. You’re already providing value. You haven’t asked for any business. You’re not selling. You’re just providing value because you’re a nice guy and you can prove to them that you’re a good resource for them.


To learn more about Jim Ries, connect with him here on LinkedIn.

 Listen to Jim’s full podcast episode
Tyler Daniels is a Senior Marketing Specialist with Integris.

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