Stuck in the Middle

woman standing between rocks

From The Client Wisdom Blog by Mary Balistreri

When talking with my business development coaching clients, I find some people excel in making connections through networking and some people excel at hauling in a piece of business that is known and ready to close. The challenge for many comes from the middle portion. The struggle is how to keep a relationship moving forward to its conclusion and turning the talk into clients.

The marathon nature of developing business relies on the ability to keep moving despite the exhaustion and, sometimes, boredom of slogging toward the finish. Where is the finish line? It seems to stealthily creep away when you are in the middle of the run. The sooner you build business development stamina, the more resilient you will be when you feel stuck in the middle.

Keep moving! The most important thing to do is to keep moving. Remember, it takes 8-10 meaningful touches and 8 months to three years to bring in a new client. Check out the tips below for ways to maintain your momentum and finish strong.


  • Adjust your mindset every morning with positive statements. What you think creates your world each day. Every morning, be intentional about what you will accomplish that day. Choose your message. “I will reach out to a potential client today.” “During the meeting with my current client, I will ask them about their newest challenges.” “I will follow up with on the challenges I discussed with my prospect at yesterday’s meeting.”
  • Make a list of the bus dev actions you will take. At the start or end of the week, make a list of actions you will take to move a relationship forward. Hang the list next to your computer so that when the time comes to act on the list, it is nearby and you can jump right in.
  • Talk about business. Clients get frustrated about the lack of business from relationships they are developing. We often discover together that when they are meeting for coffee, lunch, or a zoom call, the discussion is about personal things and not about business. Each time you connect with a prospective client, be sure you talk about business. This is how you discover their needs. Open-ended questions like, “What is challenging you now,” and “What are the goals for your business unit this year,” open the door to understanding how your business can help their business.
  • Remember to talk about your business, too. People love to talk about themselves, and after you listen to them, make sure to take some time for your business. Tell them what kind of trends you see in work you do which might apply to their business.
  • Act on opportunities immediately. A prospect mentions at the end of a coffee meeting that they would love to work with you. Act immediately to continue the conversation. Even if the cadence of your meetings is quarterly, this is a sign the prospect is ready to move forward. A possible response is, “I am happy to hear that. I would love to work with you, too. Let’s talk about what we need to do to make it happen.”
  • Adjust your goals. When your goal is focused only on bringing in a new piece of work, you may disappoint yourself and lose your momentum. Adjust your goals to smaller landmarks. I suggest clients create reasonable goals for each meeting with a prospect. For example, after meeting someone at at networking event, the first goal is to schedule a meeting to get to know each other. After achieving that goal, the goal for the meeting may be to discover whether there is an opportunity with this prospect. And so on.
  • Reward yourself. Create a reward system for yourself to match the size of the goals achieved. What is the right reward for you? Maybe you eat a piece of quality chocolate when you finish your follow up; you take a Friday afternoon off after you have submitted a proposal to a prospect; and you treat yourself to new shoes or a fancy dinner once a contract for work is signed. Acknowledging your progress in bits adds to the resiliency you are developing.

Start now and build your resiliency to increase your business development stamina. Get unstuck from the middle.

For more information contact Mary Balistreri, The Mindful Business Coach at

Published by Mary Balistreri

Mary Balistreri offers a variety of coaching and professional development services to individuals and organizations focused on harnessing strengths to develop more business. Mary’s approach is goal driven, focusing on measurable results and developing actionable plans to move past obstacles that hold individuals, teams, and organizations back from executing on the plan. Mary offers expertise in business development, team building, and leadership development coupled with strategies to improve conversational and emotional intelligence to support clients moving toward their goals and aspirations.

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