How to Create a Business Development Process that will Get you Strategic Partnerships! – with Dan Fugardi

Are you looking to create strategic win-win partnerships with other companies so that you can grow your business?

In this interview, Dan Fugardi founder of Clout reveals how to create a business development process that will get you strategic partnerships. You will discover the importance of making a list of companies to target, how to prioritize your list, how to create a pipeline that works for you, how to close deals and more!

Dan Fugardi founder of Clout




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In this Episode You will Discover:

  • Dan’s Business Development process and all the steps involved in his campaign to secure strategic partnerships for his company.
  • Why Dan believes that business development campaigns are a necessary part of your business.
  • Why Dan believes results in any business development campaign are belief-driven.
  • How Dan creates his list of potential partners and prioritizes them.
  • How Dan pitches each potential partner on deals with his company.
  • Why Dan tracks the success of his business development campaign.


Noteworthy items Mentioned in this Episode:

  1. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
  2. Insightly for CRM
  3. Streak for CRM


Episode Transcript:

OWEN: My guest today is Dan Fugardi and he is a co-founder of Clout. Dan, welcome to the show.

DAN: Thank you for having me.

OWEN: So Dan, today we’re going to talk specifically about how the listener can actually build a business development campaign to help them get strategic partnerships to help grow their business. And this is going to be based on your own experience doing exactly the same thing. So, before we even talk about that let’s talk about kind of a brief introduction as to what we’ll be learning as a result of listening to this entire interview.

DAN: Sure, well I hope that’s what I’m able to relate to our listeners is an outline that makes sense for formulating a plan that could be applied to an early stage company, or to a company that’s already producing revenue and is looking to scale. And I hope that I can provide some information that results in one less surprise and a needed a setback, and subsequently heavy drinking. Best thing that I’ve found that you can do when putting together a successful biz dev campaign is really taking the adequate time in the beginning to outline everything many steps down the road. So you don’t find yourself scrambling to react to a situation at a time when preparation is really what’s needed. So hopefully I could just provide some clarity from what I’ve learned and help people have less headaches.

OWEN: It’s just so the listener know that they can have in their mind that you’re the right person to be listening to regarding building a business development campaign to secure partnerships. I’m curious, can you talk about some maybe even success stories that you have had with your business or even case studies that you can share regarding what you’ve been able to do so far with securing partnerships and stuff like that?

DAN: Sure. Our current company, Clout, what we’ve done is essentially created the FICO score for spending, and it’s an early stage technology company, although farther along than… We’re far enough in the process to where we have experienced several twist and turns along the way. We’ve going for about coming up on 3 years and today we have not launched although we have several partnerships that give us distribution potential to millions of merchants, thousands of banks. We’ve recently partnered with a bank, it’s a $47 billion bank and media outlets, entertainment companies. Anyway, across the board really a lot of this business obviously aside from building the technology has been building up the war chest that’s going to allow us to penetrate the market effectively. Anyway, like I was saying we essentially created the FICO score for spending so we deliver that to the consumer in a universal rewards program that links into any existing card of financial account. So when the consumer links their bank account they’re automatically given a store core at every business in the world. And this score indicates what their value is to that consumer based on variables that have not been taken into account yet. Not just the spending in that store but competitor spending, related category spending.

OWEN: Let me see if I get this right because the thing is in order for the app to actually work there needs to be distribution. And in order for the distribution to happen it means that you have to actually secure partnerships with different vendors so that people who use your app can actually work with those vendors through your app. And that’s the reason why you guys have to go out there and build a business development campaign to get partners. Is that what’s the reason for that?

DAN: You got it. Yup, there’s definitely the equation of merchant acquisition, and also consumer acquisition to go after two very large worlds requires a lot of help. And that comes in the form of strategic partnership. So, you’re absolutely right. And yeah, that’s what we’ve done to… Essentially what we’ve done prior to taking the company out into the market is set these partnerships up. And yeah, looking forward to speaking with you about how we did that.

OWEN: Is there a way you can even share some of the names, or is that something you cannot do now? I’m just curious.

DAN: You know what, I will give you the types of business, businesses in their associated industries and the sizes. I’m going to leave the names out of it for today, but I can kind of run you through some of the examples. We have in our corner now, obviously I mentioned the large consumer bank and also some financial tech companies that give us distribution platforms to get to thousands of other banks and millions of other merchants. So essentially those partnerships would be hired wired partnerships where we would plug in to their existing systems ends with 1 or 2 click capabilities. We can actually offer these banks and merchants our product with great amount of ease. And some of the other partnerships include a large real estate, actually two large real estate companies, within the top 3 in the world actually. I won’t mention any names, I’m sure our listeners could guess. We have one  where were invited to go speak at their national conference and speak to all their national sales reps. And this particular real estate company, although they specialize in real estate representation they’re also very tech savvy, very forward thinking. They like to provide the latest and greatest technologies to their customers who are businesses, large retail, and food and beverage chains. We’re invited to go speak to their agents. We go to meet everybody, explain what we’re doing, and then ultimately educate them and gear them up for being able to deploy our system to their existing clients. Yeah, so those are big, they’re big wins for us, and I can launch into it or…

OWEN: What exactly now, now that you’ve shared some of the results you’ve gotten so far, let’s give the listener a quick introduction as to what exactly business development, or Biz Dev as it’s called, What is that exactly? Why is it necessary for a business sometimes?

DAN: Sure. It’s definitely necessary I think almost all the time if you’re providing a product or service at any stage, whether it’s technology or bricks and mortar. And a biz dev campaign can include very specific or very broad objectives. Depending on what stage your company is in, biz dev could either mean the entire business side, growth of the company, or it could mean more specific objectives. But ultimately I think partnerships as you mentioned are a big part of it. And I like to picture the campaign as being 60% partnerships, and this is just particularly for our model but this is something that I would say could be used as a baseline for a lot of businesses. You think along the lines of 60% partnership support, 20% sales, and 20% marketing. Again, to be clear I’m not saying that this represents the breakdown of where energy should be spent, but simply saying for the sake of the conversation where I think it’s a good methodology because it’s very important to keep in mind what your sales and marketing tactics are. Sales and marketing, as I’m sure a lot of our listeners are familiar with, I’m former Navy and I like to kind of equate certain strategic things to military tactics. I think of the advertising or marketing component as being the high-level strategic tactics and plans, and then the sales are the foot guys that basically carry out these strategies. So if you go and create your branding and one of your sales guys walks into a business or a partner that you’re looking to acquire, it’s easy to point to that. They recognize maybe it’s a mascot or a slogan. Ultimately you have to keep in the back of your head what your sales and marketing, tactics, goals, and visions are in order to outline your partnership campaign around that. Because then otherwise you kind of end up out there just shooting from the hip and taking stabs at different partners that may be big and have a lot of presence in the world, but may ultimately not fit in to your ultimate vision and direction. And also may be hard to get because you haven’t thought through what their objectives are. What I mean by that is a lot of times you can get people interested in your business. But ultimately if they don’t really understand your industry or a piece of it, and a piece of what you’re going for your demographic or some relationship there, then you’re ultimately are going to have a much harder time closing those deals.

OWEN: Okay. Let’s talk about the very first step of building the business development campaign to get strategic partners. So what will you say is the very first step and let’s dive right into it?

DAN: Sure. if you don’t mind I want to give a little premise to this, and it’s going to make a reference to a book by Simon Sinek, Start With Why. There is a young guy that used to work for me Derick Manlapeg, he was a big enthusiast on this. And I was harped on it. I really became a fan, although I kind of thought like this in the beginning, but that book pulls it together. But essentially the idea is results being driven by belief rather performance. So basically belief-driven results, meaning what’s the goal, the vibe, and the vision of your company. And then to that I would say the first step really is to start at the mission statement of your company and the vision of the company. Picture where you see the company being, and again, this could  be if you’re early stage or if you’re already out in the market, where do you see your company being in 5, 7, or 10 years, and what’s your company associated with. Make a rough list of some of these visions and then set them aside for the moment. But definitely an important step is it’s a very important tone setter in my opinion so that you have that backdrop as you’re thinking through your next steps. That’s what I’d say, the first step is ultimately this kind of [Unintelligible 00:12:01]

OWEN: Can you give an example of maybe a company or something that had to start with the mission and how they crafted that mission? I’m curious.

DAN: Sure. I would relate it to Square had their Starbucks, right? So when I say where do you envision your company being, and what do you envision of being associated with. If you were to look at Square, a lot of people that are following the industry’s trends at all would think Starbucks. Because that was their flagship push out in public where everybody kind of recognize the two to be together. That’s an example, and everybody’s business is going to be different obviously but I’d say if you were to pick the type of company that you want to be married to and want people to relate your company to, what is it?

OWEN: Yeah. And then step two, explain that, you said take a look at your audience, who’s going to visit your product or service, let’s talk about that.

DAN: Right. Kind of along the same lines but definitely different. Who is your audience, what’s that demographic, where do those people shop, where do they spend their time and energy, their money, what do they love, what do they commit to. Therefore, you kind of understand better who your target partners are. Your demographic, the psychology and sociology of consumers if you’re a product or service that you’re looking to sell the consumers, they are huge piece of this. It’s similar to step one but a little different. You really actually want to start now getting a little more granular and defining what these demographics do and their trends. You can find that all by research. This kind of comes back to do your homework. It’s something I’ve seen more times than not, and by very smart people, and experienced people. They tend to overlook those steps. I’m guilty of doing the same thing at some point and I try to remind myself the same thing. Make sure you take the extra time. When you’re doing something you got a lot of work to do. You want to cut corners sometimes or speed things up, and the research is a huge part of it because it opens back to that…

OWEN: Make it concrete in the minds of listener how you actually did it and how you’re able to define the audience for your new product.

DAN: Sure, our product, again, it’s a shopping-centric app. Although it’s not shopping just as in retail or food and beverage. It also relates to hospitality, it could be auto. I’m going to be a bad example of this although I could give you some bullet points. The reason why I say that because we have a very broad target demographic. Our target demographic are people that spend. We can actually make case studies for every type of spender. So we had to break it down in individual segments and say who are the women from 17 to 25 that shop retail and where do they spend their time. You notice that there’s a lot of mall shopping. There’s movies, what kind of channels do they watch. You got very late teen, early twenty-centric TV shows. Therefore, there’s a component again of your advertising. And maybe again it relates to it could be make-up, shoes, etc. And then you turn and you start to look at what partners have these same targets. Again, it could be skin care, it could be cars that are just tailored towards a younger audience. You try and assess what those demographics do day-to-day, and then find partners that look for the same demographics because then you can approach those partners and say, “Hey, we are after the same people, we have the same interests, and I can show you how we can enhance your consumer acquisition.” That’s the best way to walk in the door.

OWEN: Awesome. And so, step number 3 is what?

DAN: Remember that an important factor in having your campaign be successful… Biz dev by the way, I want to interject here. We’re talking about partnerships in my opinion, it’ll often include capital investment, resource contribution, and so on. Definitely approach those partners that have some understanding of your model. I kind of mentioned this in the intro. To back up and to talk about those partners that are going after certain audience, just because they’re going after the same demographic audience doesn’t necessarily mean they understand your business. To give you an example, in our business, again, we’re technology, we’re financial-centric, shopping, spending intelligence. It’s very software-centric and there’s bricks and mortar businesses that won’t necessarily understand it. A good example of what I mean by that is in the money-raising phase which is the same thing, you’re going after somebody and you’re looking for an objective. It’s the same as looking for partners. You have to sell them, you have to get them to buy-in, and then you have to get them to give you something that’s valuable of yours, believing that you’re going to be worth it. One of the big hurdles we got slapped in the face with was we were talking to real estate people in the money raising phase. A lot of successful commercial real estate people out there that are always looking for opportunities. We were able to get them excited a lot of the times and bring them in and get pretty far into negotiations even, and found that closing those deals were extremely hard in the end. We actually had a very low close rate despite the excitement we got. Why? Because ultimately, before somebody parts with their money, their valuable consumers, their resources, or their time or energy, any of that, they got to have gut feeling. It’s very hard to take somebody, for instance that’s in real estate and really only understands that word fully. And then to try and sell them on tech, you can get them excited, to close the deal is a different story. We actually made a pivot at that point and realize we got start going after people that understand this world better without us having to teach them. Banking executives, merchant services, owners, you get the point. There’s people that have already done this and there’s cross-over. So yeah, make sure that they understand your world before going and trying to sell them because you’ll actually spin a lot of wheels.

OWEN: So does this point for step number 3 have more to do with them understanding your business model, your industry and approach. Or does he have more to do with what they potentially will bring to the table in terms of maybe capital or resource contribution. I’m trying to understand this point completely.

DAN: Sure. It’s less about what they bring to the table and more about them understanding. That goes hand in hand with what they bring to the table. What my point is when you’re making these lists, what you’re doing is essentially narrowing down to an ultimate, really solid, high probability list. By doing that you make several lists. Where do you see your company? What are your goals? And the next list is who could bring you a lot of value. And the next list is who goes after the same people that you go after. The next list is who understands what we’re doing. The companies that are congruent across those lists, or…

OWEN: As you’re creating the list, the company that keeps moving to the next column…

DAN: Exactly.

OWEN: Okay, go ahead.

DAN: You nailed it on the head. You start with your big, raw set of companies and then you send them through these filters. And you want them to pass all these tests. You can go out without doing this but if you do… If you don’t do this I feel like you’ll end up spending more time than if you just take the time to do this. The reason why that is, is because maybe they bring a lot, maybe they go after the same customers, maybe you can get them excited. But ultimately, in the end of the day you’re teaching them from the ground up about this business and they’ve never had experience with it before, they might get to the very end of the negotiating process, about to sign the papers. They’ll ask their friends, they’ll ask their attorneys, “What do you think about this?” People fire all these different reasons not to do it, and they’ll go to sleep and they’ll wake up thinking, “I don’t know enough.” They’ll get cold feet and they’ll back out. That’s the reason why you want to create these several lists and you want to make sure these companies get through all those filters.

OWEN: Okay. Now, they’re going through that filter, and step number 4, let’s talk about that.

DAN: After you determine the best strategic industries or arenas for your products. Obviously, understanding the intricacies of what you’re doing. You create a criteria for that target list. This is just basically doing the same thing but you’re now just getting a little more granular and you’re actually saying, “Okay, what are my exact criteria sets?” Essentially what you’re doing is you’re taking the metrics from those different lists and why you made those determinations on those different lists. And now you’re saying, “Here’s my criteria.” So then going forward, if you run into a company you can quickly reference this criteria.

OWEN: Can you use an example at this very stage of how you did this for a specific company that you reached out to? That way for the listener it becomes concrete in their mind. Use an example.

DAN: Sure. Let’s use the real estate company I was talking about. Real estate company, not necessarily something that’s in our field. I should say they’re not an exact category of us but they have over 300 offices worldwide. They’re one of the top real estate companies in the world. They have reach and access to huge chains. So huge value in it for us of those chains, those consumers are exactly the type of people that we want. They’re frequent in retail, food and beverage because these are food, beverage, and retail chains. We got our consumer criteria, we got our reach criteria, so it’s just a huge company simply put. Then also, they’re very tech savvy and they understand tech. You have these criteria that set aside. I’m going a little more broad than the specific example because it’s an example I want to use for the sake of going after these big targets. But you then go, “Okay, do they understand what we’re doing.” And then you research their objectives. It’s typically on their webpage, it’s as simple as going and reading their material. Then what you do after that is look at some of the previous thing, like what have they done in the past, what are the recent acquisitions, what companies have they partnered with. You can understand that they own a digital billboard company. So they obviously understand digital advertising to some degree. They partnered with a software company. That has to do with advertising data analytics. You could kind of start to put together a picture based off this criteria once you did check, check, check. Then you dig a little further and you see, “Okay, you know what, they have the same understanding, they have a department that’s focused on this. They have the consumers we want, they’ve got the value and the reach.” It’s just a way to look at a company and after you’ve gone through these steps, I’d like to say it’s in your head but you can always reference a list. But it’s a lot more fuzzy if you haven’t done these steps first, simply put. It’d be very hard to make that accurate assessment. Then going forward, when you walk in the door and you go to pitch them, you know it’s in your language. “Hey, here’s what we’re doing. Here’s what we bring. Here’s how easy it is. Here’s how we could partner. Here’s how risk free it is for you. And here’s what we’re going to get you and we’re not going to choke up your system.” So it makes for an easier pitch ultimately to kind of have all these things understood at a time. Am I being too broad or is that a good enough…

OWEN: Well, I think it gives the listener a kind of… Because I think the criteria at this point that you’re going to apply to the potential partners who have made it all the way to this point, the criteria you’re going to apply is going to apply is going to be different based on your business and your objectives.

DAN: Right, which is why I didn’t want to get too specific because obviously… I understand that your listeners, and most of them have successful businesses, have operating businesses, so this is not foreign to anybody listening. But these are all good reminders. I like to say whenever I give advice it’s not stuff I made up. This is stuff that I’ve gathered throughout my own experiences reading, speaking with people way farther along in business than me, and wisdom I’ve gathered so I’m just passing it along.

OWEN: And then you said step number 5 is assigned priority values. Can you talk about that in detail?

DAN: That’s a simple you’re going to prioritize who you’re going after. So you look at these businesses and you give them priorities. It’s just an energy thing. Who do we want to go after first, where do we want to spend a lot of our time, who’s our easier closes, who’s in the local area. A lot of times geo really kind of helps depending on what your stage you’re at.

OWEN: Geo, you mean geography?

DAN: Looking at the geographical picture as well, can I drive over and walk into their door, sit in the office face to face and talk with somebody. You get a lot more done that way. That’s what I mean by assigning priorities. You want to look, “Oh, this guy’s into my area and this company is going to be an easier close because they partner with a lot of people, they really don’t have to give much up, they’ve got just enough… You look at all the elements and you put them in categories, priority 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. It’s just who’s your best options from those list you’ve created. Simply put.

OWEN: So now you’ve prioritized a list and you say step 6 is create a pipeline.

DAN: Yeah. Now, again, depending on how big of an objective you have or your objectives, this could turn into a lot of businesses that you’re having to keep track of. And whether you’re doing this alone or you have a team, you want to really organize and keep track of it. It’s funny that biz dev sales guys, they’re found to be less organized than your engineering, programming, and OCD types.

OWEN: Why is that?

DAN: I think the reason for that is social energy thing. People let go and they put deals together, they have to win people over, their personalities, their pitch, and their energy. And those types they like to talk. I guess you can say I’m one of them. They like to talk, they like to get out in front of people, and they like to move around. Those personality types are typically not the same ones that like to sit there in the computer and enter data, simply put. That really brings us back to the point in here, is that you want to put an emphasis on making sure that you’re going to attract all these data and all your progress correctly. Because what happens when you get to the point where you have several hundred businesses, maybe half of them or all of them that you’ve spoke with at some point. You’ve had different conversations with different ones, you are at different stages, and you get different people working with you. How the heck do you track all that. The answer is you have to really define what your pipeline is and systemize your pipeline. If you’d like I can give you a couple of systems that I personally like.

OWEN: Yeah, go ahead.

DAN: There’s a few that are free out there, and there’s obviously paid system. I’ll give you the free ones for the sake of why not look at those first. Asana is a smaller system. I’d say that you don’t want to have too many things going on in that system because it’s kind of harder to organize it. But at the same time a nice system, a task management system where you can enter fields of data and then you could track conversations, enter notes, etc. Insightly is a task management system, kind of like in Sona that’s combined with a CRM. It’s a CRM. It plugs right into Google. What I really like about Insightly is that you send an email and you BCC your Insightly tag, and it actually drops it right into the box, into the contact that you send to in that communication. Then from there you can go on to create an actual pipeline. The pipelines in Insightly, it takes a little bit of learning and getting comfortable with it. But in that pipeline essentially you have tabs to select at what stage it’s in. And within those tabs or within those stages you have individual tasks. You can actually kind of automate your system which you really wanted to do early on if possible. Because once you start bringing in more people under you, it’s very hard to create the system and get everybody in line with each other and in sync while things are going on. So you want to have this foundation when people come in the door. To give some specific examples, this pipeline may include establishing communications. So that’s one stage. Those stage could be getting confidentiality agreement signed if that pertains to your business. And then tasks within getting that document signed would be very simple tasks but things that people overlook and end up in disorganization. One of those tasks like getting the NDA back and verifying the signature, and verifying its countersigned, saving it to your Google Drive if you use Google Drive, or Dropbox, or whatever you use as your folder-sharing system. And then entering it in the data sheet that you have the spreadsheets. Another stage might be to complete the presentation. That includes tasks within, that would include scheduling a presentation and sending a Google Calendar invite. Perform the presentation. The third task would be install updated PowerPoint’s, videos, decks, etc. that may pertain or at least follow-up with the actual hard material to whoever you presented to so that they can look over that material after your presentation. Then determine what the objectives are and resolve those objectives. You want these steps, and although they might sound simple, like when I was referencing, getting back the document itself, checking it, countersigning it, and entering it. You need these steps outlined because when somebody new comes in it’s hard. It’s hard to get people to work the way you want them to. And if you have a very definitive outline then they can follow that outline step by step, and you can track it. You have a way to gauge how they’re doing and where they need help. And it’s going to make your life a lot easier.

OWEN: Okay. What I get from this very step now is by pipeline is we’re basically saying you’re at this point where you’ve identified your list of companies that you want to partner with. The other end of the journey is you partnering with one of the partners in this list. And you’re just trying to literally map out all the series of steps that you potentially have to take in order to get there. Especially if you’re bringing someone else to help you with parts of the steps, you want to make sure that they’re able to know when they come in what they have to do so they gradually… You guys are moving step by step through the pipeline to eventually get to the point where your partner with one of several of these companies that are in your list. I’m curious, the listener that might be listening to this, thinking of doing something like that. But I’m sure initially when you start you have no idea of what the different steps are. At this point, how does one map it out when you’re starting the campaign. Do you get the question I’m asking?

DAN: Yeah, I think what you’re asking me is could I provide some guidance as to how to outline those steps. One, I kind of did just a second ago, those examples I was using are pretty general examples I could probably apply to a lot of businesses regardless of what their objectives are. It really just depends business to business. I’d say that the best way to come up with these steps if that’s what you’re asking is to go out and to start… You can do some testing. That’s another component that I haven’t really mentioned much, but kind of like finding out who your consumers are, require going and talking to consumers and finding out what they want along those lines. Maybe you go out and do some testing. You go into partnered targets. You go through the process and you figure out what your steps are. A typical outline I can give you. I can just give you a general outline that most formats can from as a baseline. Initially, you can say when you get a lead or a prospect, you have different blocks that if falls in. And you can do 0-100%, 100% being the close obviously, zero is from a prospect. So at 10% their actual prospects you’ve gone through your list and determine, this is a good prospect we want to go after. Twenty percent would be an inquiry, so you reach out to them. Forty percent would be qualification. You find out, “Hey, are they really what we want from them? Are they able to do it? If it’s money raising, do they have the ability to put money in it. That comes down to asking questions. Are you able, ready, and willing to do these things that we need? Sixty percent would be the nurturing stage. This is where you stay on them, and this is where this pipeline is hugely important because going back to why the pipeline is so necessary. It’s not just training your people and keeping track but these conversations go on for months or years. Sometimes people aren’t necessarily ready to talk to you because they’re busy. Or maybe it takes several impressions. That 60%, that nurturing stage is important to track as well, so you can see in these different stages where these companies are and you know what you need to do. “We’re in the nurturing stage, hey, what’s the last communication? What did they say?” That was only a week ago, let’s give it another couple of weeks, put a reminder on the calendar, etc. Your 80% would be your contract stage. Ninety percent which would be right between contracts and close would be negotiation, and a 100% closed, So just to kind of talk through that again, the prospects and inquiry.

OWEN: I like the fact that you broke it down like that, that way the listener has a framework to start with. But given that now they’ve had that framework that you’ve shared with them, they have to go out and test and see… What I mean test, by actually going out there to speak with potential partners and going through that framework. Then identify parts that are missing from your framework and then going back and adding them into their system too.

DAN: Absolutely. It’s a very good framework if I was to suggest one. It pretty much applies to anything. As you could tell it’s pretty broad. And just about any communication falls within one of those stages.

OWEN: Awesome. You said step number 8 is training and transferring the ambition to your team, let’s talk about that.

DAN: Okay. Now that we’ve got all of this done we’re at a point where we figured out who we’re going after, we figured out how we’re going to attract it and have multiple parts moving at one time. A very important part is remembering that people are people. And that’s your partners, it’s people that work for you. To that I say it’s the training, it’s the energy, it’s making sure you give ample energy to your people and not just expect them to know. And then turn around, tell them they’re doing it wrong, and decrease morale. By giving them training and making sure you’re take enough time with them, and then going a step further and transferring ambition to them. What I mean by that is it’s hard to get people to work for your company like it’s their company, because it’s not their company. But one way you can do that is to remind them, one day you want your own company don’t you? The answer is hopefully yes. If it’s not, maybe that’s a different point where you have to analyze in terms of employees. Depending… Maybe they’re good at what they’re doing if they want to stay there comfortably. But one day you want your own company. Yes, this is invaluable education to that. Every step of the way that you learn you become a powerhouse of a businessperson. It’s pushing you closer to your goals. Just remember to stop and remember that. It’s not all about your visions and goals that all these people are people. When you can make that connection you find that people, they jump a lot higher for you.

OWEN: Okay. Basically, that is trying to figure out what their intrinsic motivations are, and also trying to get them to take ownership as to what you’re actually trying to achieve so that way it’s not just, “Do this task”, but they actually evolve from ownership standpoint of it. They feel like they’re working together with you to build something because they kind of own it I guess.

DAN: Absolutely. They’re building themselves. Because coming back to the point that data entry and tracking all this stuff is quite frankly boring. It’s not easy to sit and remember to do all these steps, click through every task, and put every reminder. It’s kind of daunting stuff. You want to definitely make sure that passion’s there and infuse that in your guys.

OWEN: I’m glad that you’ve gone through all the different steps when you’re working on a business development campaign to kind of get strategic partners. I’m curious. What will you say is maybe the most important parts of the business development process that you talked about so far?

DAN: Having the correct pitch, I know we didn’t really talk about this much, but it’s also important. I’d say assuming that all things are equal and assuming that… You don’t want to skip over any of these steps in my opinion, and you want to give it all the equal energy. You also want to make sure your pitch is correct, it’s succinct. You go in, you tell them what you’re going to tell them, and tell them what you told them. Really make sure that you start business conversations with explaining what you’re going to talk about. It’s something that I learned halfway through. You just can’t assume that people are in the same mental place that you are because they’ve got their own stuff going on. You got to really outline it. It kind of goes back to the organization. It’s organization within your communication. That’s a very important thing because all of this being said you’ve put all these time, work, and energy into getting in the door, now you don’t want to screw it up. Make sure that that’s pretty nailed down as to what you’re pitching and make it succinct. Look at other business pitches and see how successful business pitches look. Don’t go too far overboard with detail. It’s going to tune people out and look for people’s actions.

OWEN: The last question, you know how you gave us the framework for the steps in the pipeline. Can you give us a framework to use for the pitch? That way the listener, instead of trying to get the specific pitch from you, they can use that framework to develop theirs. Did you get what I’m saying?

DAN: Yeah, a framework for a pitch. I’m going to keep it simple here. I don’t want to go too far into it. Like I said, tell them what you’re going to tell them, and tell them what you told them. What I mean by that is just keeping it organized and outlined in your head. What does that mean, what do you tell them. Make sure you outline before you go in the key points of what you’re trying to relate. “Hey, here’s what we’re doing. Here’s what we provide. Here’s what we want. Here’s how we see it happening. Here’s what we need from you in order for it to happen. Here’s what you can get out of it ultimately. I’d say those are pretty good bullet points to start with. Every business is a little different in terms of how you’re going to create a framework for that. Really, it’s what do we do, what do we want, what do we want to give you for it, how do we see the process working, how far along are we, how easy can we make this. And then provide some data on the business so that they understand a little bit more about it because it’s typically going to involve some education. I say you go on with the pitch. Just that, you’re going to be starting off on the right foot.

OWEN: Awesome. What will say is the very next step for the listener who has listened to the interview all the way to this point that they should take in order to start implementing their own business development campaign to attract strategic partners?

DAN: I would say listen to the interview over again. Start with one of these systems. Download Insightly, set-up your boxes. There’s another very good system that is amazing for business development. It’s called Streak. That actually plugs right into your Gmail. What it is, is it’s a folder, a tabulated organization system within your email so that you can put tabs on different… You categorize different emails. Say for us, you got banking, you got merchant processing people, you got entertainment industry, and you got advertising. What happens is in your email box you can actually see to the left of your emails how many emails are in each. You could click on them and you can actually see what stages they are. In this process, first contact, second contact, third contact, and all that could fall within inquiry. We talked about initially inquiring and then getting that initial response and what that response is, and it’s scheduling the first call, scheduling the first meeting, scheduling the first demonstration. You can actually have stages within these stages. It’s right there in your email box. I just encourage anybody listening to go check it out without me talking much more about it because it’s very easy to see, it’s very intuitive. I’d say start with a couple of these systems and start outlining who you’re going after, and start tilting your stages according to who you’re going after and how you’re going to go about them. You have at least that framework setup and life’s a little easier.

OWEN: Awesome. Based on what the listener’s been learning so far, what books have influenced you on this topic so far and you feel that they should also check out as well, and why?

DAN: Sure. There’s two books that come to mind that they speak to the same theory conceptually but delivered in slightly different ways. One is a book called The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. It’s a philosophy behind doing what seems insignificant in the moment of doing it, and it’s compounded over time. It ultimately result in the significance that leads to success. That kind of comes back to these mundane details you got to  do throughout, tracking everything. It’s a great book to read, to understand yourself, but also to relate to other people. Not to lose focus in these little successes, because that’s what’s going to ultimately provide that big success. You ask any businessperson that made those big successes, they’re going to tell you, you can’t let things slip through the cracks. Another one is Flight Plan by Brian Tracy. I want to thank a guy named Dr. Gladwin Gill for making me listen to this. It’s a guy that I hacked for well over a year, maybe closer to two, and finally he made note of my persistence. He said, “I like you, we could talk. But before we do, I want you to listen or read this book.” What that is essentially, it illustrates the need of small course corrections to achieve the ultimate destination. It’s a making relationship to flying, which I personally like because I’m a pilot myself. But it’s a very cool concept. What that is when you’re going from point A to point B in a plane, you’re of course 98% of the time. Meaning your plain yaws and it’s actually pointing a different direction almost all of the time and you’re always correcting it just a little bit to ultimately get to your end destination. It’s helpful also in this process too because you’re going to get a lot of surprises. As we know, life doesn’t go the way we’d expect it to 98% of the time. Both these concepts kind of speak to those small processes along the way being very important.

OWEN: Awesome. What’s the very best way for the listener to connect with you and thank you for doing the interview?

DAN: Sure. My Twitter is @fugardi, feel free to reach out to me there. LinkedIn, Dan Fugardi. I try to get to everybody obviously when I’m slammed myself it’s hard. If reach out to me I’m always glad to talk. Just give me a short, succinct line or two about what you’re thinking about, talking about and I’m happy to chat.

OWEN: Last question for you. Is there a question that you’re wishing that I asked you during this interview that I didn’t get to ask you yet. If so, post the question, the answer, and then why. Go ahead.

DAN: What’s my favorite fighter plane? It has been the F-18 Hornet and now I think it’s the F-35.

OWEN: What are you talking about?

DAN: You asked me if I had a question I wished that you would ask.

OWEN: That’s a question that can lead to anything.

DAN: I’m joking obviously. I don’t really have a question that I hope you would ask. I enjoyed speaking with you. I guess if I had a comment that might answer whatever question this would be, would be to remember that we’re all here to help each other. I like the saying, “Greed will kill you faster than hunger.” It’s something that I live by. That’s the biggest thing you got to remember. It doesn’t necessarily pertain to all of this. But if I was going to leave off with a note, talk to people, ask them questions, and when you have knowledge turn around and it give it to others.

OWEN: Awesome. Dan, thanks for doing the interview. And we’re done.


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Here are 3 Steps to Take After Listening to the Interview:

  1. Find tools that will allow you to track your business development campaign.
  2. Make a list of the businesses that you want to build a partnership with, and put them in order of priority.
  3. Get to know the businesses you want to create partnerships with, and get in touch with them.


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