Breakthrough Business Development: A 90-Day Plan to Build Your Client Base and Take Your Business to the Next Level.


220 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 978-0-470-84096-2
DDC 658.8




Reviewed by Louise Karch

Louise Karch is a career consultant with Carswell Partners in London, Ontario.


Breakthrough Business Development is a must-read for every business professional that sells to survive. I’ve worked with CEOs, lawyers and accountants and they all want to grow a business that doesn’t need their constant presence and staff who can cultivate clients who refer quality business. MacPherson and Miller take readers through a 12-week plan to do just that. They believe in the Pareto Principle that 20 percent of your efforts generate 80 percent of your results, so they teach you what to focus on.


They begin with the basics: establish a business plan, develop a procedures manual, define your best clients, set goals, define your services. All this is supported with clear examples, client stories, motivating quotes, chapter summaries, and action prompts. They even include sample scripts to use with clients—some of which I found a bit awkward. This is a tiny flaw compared to the overall excellent advice contained throughout. The strategies build upon one another, including creating an advisory council (your own board of directors) and learning how to turn your clients into advocates who champion you and your services to others. This is word of mouth marketing, which means you have to be exceptional in your service offerings and exceptional at providing extra value to your clients. This means knowing them well.


MacPherson and Miller suggest creating a client database using their FORM acronym. Every time you have a conversation you collect data on your client’s family, occupation, recreation, and message. Message is for marketing. What have you said you can do for them? FORM generates material for conversations that deepen your client relationship. If you know the lawyer’s son is graduating what inspiring book can you send? Care about what your client cares about and you stand out. Additional ideas include assembling other outstanding professionals to whom you can refer clients. This cast of experts are primed to treat your clients like gold so that once again you stand out.


This book is a resource of sound business development strategies. One wonders why banks don’t give it out with business loans.


MacPherson, Duncan, and David Miller., “Breakthrough Business Development: A 90-Day Plan to Build Your Client Base and Take Your Business to the Next Level.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024,