Rainmakers: featuring business development's elite

Interview with Mo Bunnell, CEO, Bunnell Idea Group

October 12, 2020 Carl Grant III Season 1 Episode 7
Rainmakers: featuring business development's elite
Interview with Mo Bunnell, CEO, Bunnell Idea Group
Show Notes Transcript

Mo Bunnell , author of the Snowball System https://www.amazon.com/Snowball-System-Business-Clients-Raving-ebook/dp/B078W5ZFR6, has trained 15 thousand people on how to use his system to do business development.

Host - Carl Grant
Producer - Seth Grant

Carl Grant:

Welcome to rainmakers. I'm Carl Grant. And let me tell you a little bit about what rainmakers is, if this is the first podcast you're listening to of our series, this is a podcast about business development. When I started out in business development, nobody was there to teach me how to do what I do today. And so I want to give back and teach others how this is done. But not just for me, I want to talk to the best of the best. And today I have mobinil I knew I was gonna not spit that out. Right, Bo, Mo. But Mo was referred to me by Tyler Sweat and other guests of mine who said that he received most training, and he said that it was some of the best in the world. Now, moe is CEO of Bonell Idea Group. He is the author of the snowball system. And he's a host of his own podcast called real relationships, real revenue. Welcome out.

Mo Bunnell:

Hey, Carl, thanks for having me. I'm excited about the chat today.

Carl Grant:

Absolutely. I was reading through your bio and listening to some of your book and your podcast. And you didn't start out as a business development guru. You started out as an actuarial analyst. How in the world did you go from doing that to figuring out that this was your calling in life?

Mo Bunnell:

Well, I'm laughing. I don't know that I've shared this with many people. But I can remember being a junior or senior in college, the school I went to actually had an actuarial science program. So I was getting a major to be an actuary major in actuarial science. And most of the guys in my fraternity, were going on to be salespeople. And one of those guys was walking as walking down the road. And he said, Hey, Mo, what your you've been voted best rusher, you know, for three years in a row or something like that, basically, like sales in the fraternity world, if you will, in college, it was the rush the rush chairman.

Carl Grant:

Wait, go ahead. Were you the rush chairman?

Mo Bunnell:

No, but I was I was the guy that people would put me in a corner with somebody that was a high potential. So they voted best rusher. Right. And I got it, I think three years in a row or something like that.

Carl Grant:

That's when I was rushed, chairman for two years. And we're both in delta delta in in college. So we should bring that out.

Mo Bunnell:

I love it, man. And when we saw that I was just grinning ear to ear because I've been went to your school as a chapter leadership consultant for the fraternity.

Carl Grant:

So right. So you did that after being an actuarial and, and so but at what point it what juncture in your life, did you realize I'm really good at this, I'm going to teach others.

Mo Bunnell:

Ah, well, I was rising up through the ranks at HR consulting firm, and I really fell in love with not just doing business development, because after I had a system after it sort of cobbled to science and steps together a little bit, nothing like we have now but it was working at the time, 20 years ago. And I fell in love with not just the BD part, but the teaching of others. And Carl, that's when I really realized this is the thing I want to do the rest of my life.

Carl Grant:

I talk a little bit about the snowball system, you've developed a methodology for doing this and high level, what is that?

Mo Bunnell:

Yeah, so what we wanted is we wanted to have a comprehensive system for business development, literally, I wanted somebody to be able to grab that book, go through our trading or grab the snowball system and say this has every single thing I need to be successful. So it's over 92,000 words about double the size of a normal business word book, in it's got 30 or 40 different of the most important scientific citations. So what we try to do in snowball system is give somebody a comprehensive system that's based on science, and that this is the most important part that is authentic. It's all about helping other people. It's about always doing the right things for your clients and prospects, just done in a proactive way that happens to grow your relationships and your book of business.

Carl Grant:

And you have a bunch of worksheets, I haven't pulled those down yet, but it seems really comprehensive. Talk a little bit about the worksheets and the need for those types of things.

Mo Bunnell:

Yeah, so what we find with business development is it's complicated enough, you just can't use metaphors all the time and say it's like this, or just treat the client right or go to dinners, you know, you need to think through it in detail a little bit more. So what we try to do with over 20 worksheets that accompany the book is if somebody gets the snowball system, and let's say they're giving a speech, but they want to, they're not doing it for fun. They want to do it in a way that generates new potential clients. Well, there's various steps to that. If somebody asks for a referral, there's four steps to that. If somebody is offering their content on their dime, to try to try to woo a client help them but also create interest or create demand for their services, their steps for that. So what all the worksheets do is they take every piece of the business development system and break it down into steps just like any normal project would be broken down into steps.

Carl Grant:

And some of those initial steps that I caught this morning listening to some of the chapters were rituals and rewards. Talk to us about those.

Mo Bunnell:

Well, it's super important Carl, I know you You believe in this to the the thing about behavioral science and habits that's an interesting is we tend to do things that we get immediate gratification for. And I think the reason business development is so hard for people is man, you can work for years, trying to stay in touch, stay top of mind add value be helpful to a prospect, and you don't hear anything back or they haven't been able to hire you yet, or whatever. But you've got to stick with it. So what we do is in this, this is actually throughout and especially near the end of snowball system, where we teach the very specific ways to sort of hack your own habits. So you can pull back, focus on the things you can control and reward yourself for those. And if you continue to do the right things week, over week, we have various ways to sort of hack your own habits. But if you keep doing those things, week, after week, you will end up bringing in work. But you've got to do that. Because if you're waiting for the universe to tell you You did a good thing, you're just not going to get it in this in the world of business development.

Carl Grant:

And what are your top few habits?

Mo Bunnell:

Gosh, probably the biggest one that our clients app, absolutely love is what we call an MIT process. MIT, which is a little code word we use, that means most important things. And the simplest way to do it is to pick 15 minutes, once a week, I'm a four o'clock on Friday, eastern time kind of guy, but other people choose Saturday morning, Sunday night, you know, Monday afternoon, whatever, but you pick 15 minutes once a week, and you pick three things that you want to accomplish next week that are specifically around bringing it you know, they're gonna make a big difference that are in your control. And they're growth oriented big, they're going to make a big impact. They're in your control. They're growth oriented. So you pick three things once a week. And then you measure if you do those three proactive, helpful things every week, you do three weeks, it's about 150 a year 1500 over a decade. And that adds up and builds momentum over time.

Carl Grant:

Now the snowball system, when I when I saw that title, I was thinking of my life as head of business development for a law firm. So I've been out doing habits, I guess I didn't think of him in these terms, but doing these things that you talk about in your book over, you know, 20 plus years. And what's happened is my network is is really snowballed. I mean I it if I could just get through my emails in a day, there's there's gold in my, in my emails, right? And so it's like it's snowballed over the years. And now it's almost out of control.

Mo Bunnell:

Yeah, and that's because you've, you've built that momentum. There's a bunch of research on psychological momentum, Dr. Sipo. So he saw a whole is probably the most my favorite, he study sports psychology, and we can apply his learnings to business development, there's a lot of similarities in the super quick version that you're now reaping the benefits of Carl, is that if what a lot of people do is they'll set really big lofty goals, like I'm gonna go run a marathon and they got the first weekend and try to run 10 miles Well, they end up really sore and they quit. But what doctor so hola finds is that actually setting your initial goals very small, but doing them consistently over time. And then as you build that skill, you're able to handle more of a load to your point now where the leads in the business comes in and just drops in your lap. Because you've had the right habits for so long, you've been focused on helping others you've been proactive. So that's sort of the end game for folks. But how they get started just doing three simple things a week, but never missing a week.

Carl Grant:

Now, when you were starting out in setting goals, give us an idea of some of the types of goals you've set for yourself, what are those look like?

Mo Bunnell:

You know, I can remember one specific time I flew to Denver to meet a client and I flew back, we had a we had meetings all day, you know, breakfast and throughout the organization, things like that it was a CHRO of a big organization that we called on. This is back when I worked at the big HR consulting firm, in my goal was to come back from that meeting with so many things. To do that it would fill up my entire flight back from Denver to Atlanta, and accomplish that I was typing the entire time long email that was about introducing our head of talent to her to his he was willing to do something on his dime in a way that would be helpful her and and to do this to set up an HR strategy project that we were going to do our dime on our dime to to help her move forward. Almost everything in that email was on our dime. But it pulled in almost every single practice area we had at the firm, which is a billion dollar consulting firm at the time. So it was literally dozens of introductions I was making to help her accomplish her goal and introduce her to some of the best talent that we had all over the world. And I can remember sending that off. And somebody replying. It was on the you know, one of the people involved and said this is exactly what folks should be doing in this role. I was 100% focused on helping her and I wanted to do it so much. I'd be busy for an entire three hours typing it all up, and I and that turned turned into just millions and millions of dollars of consulting work. But it wasn't focused on selling it was focused on helping. Carl, is that where you were going?

Carl Grant:

Absolutely! that's my whole focus to doing this is I never sell, I'm always I'm always helping. Sometimes I have to remind people what I do sell, so that they don't take advantage of me, but, but that's my whole focus. So another thing that you talked about early on in your book is prioritizing relationships. And so when I, when I first started listening to that part, I was thinking about early on in my Business Development Career, I was at Price Waterhouse Coopers and I was burning the midnight oil, I would, you know, do events late at night, and I didn't, I hadn't figured out how to organize my life. I was doing emails in the middle of the night, and I was

at, you know, 7:

30 in the morning, breakfast the next morning, and I realized this is not sustainable. And, and so I figured out that there were like four other people in the marketplace, that four or five, that if I just got on the phone with them each week, and shared, shared leads with them. I never had to leave my office. But those are the types of relationships you're talking about, or is it different?

Mo Bunnell:

No, you nailed it. It's almost like a lot of people feel like just the more people that keep up with the better. But the problem with that is it doesn't allow any depth for the most important people. So we can tie back to our our adult fraternity days if you if you won. If you're a top 10 chapter in the country, there was an award called the Hugh Shields Award. And there was one word on it other than our Greek letters, and it was protomous. And I worked really hard as a as a chapter president to win that award. When when I was in school right around the time you were in that protomous word is Greek it means First Among Equals, it's going to tie back to the relationship idea. So one of the tools in the snowball system is called a protomous list, who are your first among equals when it comes to relationships, and what we find in our, in our practice of now we trained over 15,000 people that for most folks, having eight or 10 relationships that are your a number one relationships that you're going to make sure you proactively help them at least like once a month, and you're going to have an outreach to them, you're going to do something helpful, you're going to personalize it, you're going to make it all about them. If you focus on eight or 10 relationships, for most professionals, that's enough to just blow the doors off their book of business. And it's to your point, it's far superior to go deep with the the ones that are going to have the biggest impact than just try to react to everybody who comes to you. If that makes sense.

Carl Grant:

No, it does. Most of my time is I'm in reactive mode. Fortunately, they're all good, good. You know, it's no longer have the five a relationships, I've got, you know, hundreds of them. But it's hard to it's hard to manage at this stage.

Mo Bunnell:

So to point out something there. That's because you're you're now achieving at such a high level. In a lot of times when people start out they think oh, I should do what Carl does he you know, he keeps in touch with all these people. That's not the place to start, we want to start with eight or 10 really, really great ones. And people that could really bring a lot of business your way whether they do business with you now. And then as you do that over time, you start to get to the point where you are now.

Carl Grant:

Yeah, it's unpredictable, where the next big clients gonna come from, I found them coming from the strangest of places or places I don't expect them to come from just because I've managed to stay loosely in touch with somebody. I don't I mean, this is not this is not these are not people I have lunch with, you know, every month. These are people I you know, can I connect with on LinkedIn, and I may, you know, wish them good wishes and get a new job or have a birthday or something like that.

Mo Bunnell:

Yeah

Carl Grant:

Yep. So So another thing you talk about is target lists. What is the importance of target lists? And how does that work?

Mo Bunnell:

Yeah, the key here is that a lot of professionals don't, I was just I was just doing a session last week on this, but a lot of professionals don't get really clear on who they're for. And then that puts them in reactive mode. So if you're a lawyer, and you really focused on big pharma companies, because you've you filed patents, you're a chemical engineer, and a JD and all these other things. Well, there's there's some specific organizations that if you got in there, I could just keep you busy for decades. And having a real defined list typically three things that define your perfect client. And writing those down usually takes about 30 minutes. If you read snowball system, there's a specific process to arrive at these three, three things. But you want to get a really clear list of the determinants or the sort of the things that correlate to your perfect clientele. Once you know that you can steer everything to meet those people, your LinkedIn updates, you're engaging online content, content, you're the speech that you're going to give it the HLA conference, you know, virtually or whatever. But once you're clear on who you're for, then you can get clear On what content you create in for whom? And how do you get in front of the right people, and then everything's aligned. And what a lot of professionals do is almost the opposite. They just do stuff and hope that the right people will see them. But the problem with that is that people see, it might be more, they might view your work more as a commodity, it's not the meaty stuff you really want to do. And a lot of times, there's a lot of effort without a lot of return.

Carl Grant:

Alright, so up till now, we've been kind of down in the weeds with with how this stuff works. And that's great for the person who's out in the marketplace already. And doing it. But I mentioned to you before we got on the on the recording, there are some students that listen to this podcast, college students, even high school students, and what would you besides reading your book and listening to your podcast and maybe taking one of your courses? What are some things they could be doing to prepare themselves to be able to do what you've done?

Mo Bunnell:

Oh, that's awesome. Well, you know, I'll give a little free thing that people can do, it's even cheaper than the book because it doesn't cost anything. And it's a there's a free course we've got called BB habits calm. So if people go to beat V for business, and D for development, so BD habits calm. If people go there with a student, a high stakes, litigator, anybody in between, there's a little series of videos that accompany that, that course. And it takes a couple hours to go through the content, it's got free worksheets, it's got me giving the How to the focus on this, avoid that kind of pro level tips. In to your point, Carl, somebody that's a student, they don't have a lot of cash, you know, their drink, they're eating ramen noodles every night, they can go out to that bat habits calm course. And it is really phenomenal, we packed a lot of value into it, and they would be able to get a really good way to start focusing on the things that they want to accomplish. It's called those opportunities, they get really clear on who their protocol list is, who are the relationships that that they really want to invest in. And then the major part of it is then lining the habits behind that. So you're always focused on proactively building the life you want. And those kind of things are every bit as true for somebody that's a junior in college as they are for a high stakes senior partner litigator that's trying to build his or her book of business.

Carl Grant:

Well, thanks, Mo. That's a great takeaway. And I thank you for joining me today on Rainmakers. It's Mo Bunnell, CEO of the bundle idea group and author of this Snowball System. Thank you.

Mo Bunnell:

Thanks, Carl.