Business Development Strategies Tailored for Women (and Most Men)

by Dr. Arin N. Reeves

Women are achieving equality in professional service firms by many metrics, but they continue to trail their male counterparts in making it to the very top leadership positions. While the public conversations have largely focused on women’s concerns about work-life balance and their hesitation to lean in for opportunities, research demonstrates that the ability to develop business within current firm models is a greater obstacle for women’s success than any other reason. While most firms actively tout an active commitment to advancing women at all levels, they also adhere tightly to the use of traditional business development strategies, strategies that are unequivocally failing to capture the strengths of talented women in these firms. Through original and secondary research, detailed in the book, Dr. Reeves illustrates how women often are more successful in certain aspects of business development (networking, establishing relationships, delivering excellence in client service), but these successes don’t get recognized by firms who primarily reward closing the sale and getting the credit for the sale – two areas where women have different behavioral patterns than their male colleagues.  Dr. Reeves explains why most women (and also most men) fall prey to this flawed traditional business development approach and offers a series of alternative approaches that professional women (and most men) as well as the firms in which they work should use instead.



  • Debbi Vandeven

    Global Chief Creative Officer, VML

    “Dr. Reeves has proven herself as a pioneer on advancing women in the workplace.

    She has shifted the conversation beyond recruiting & retaining women to focus on understanding how the one model fits all approach to business development should change to help drive gender equality in professional services firms. I see her book as a blueprint for women (and men) to better understand, define & create new business development strategies for themselves and their organizations. “One Size Never Fits All” is an must-read forwomen in advertising, an industry that is a traditionally a one size fits all, competitive model.”

  • Anita Antenucci

    Board of Directors, Senior Managing Director, HOULIHAN LOKEY

    “Warren Buffet has partly attributed his success to the fact that he was only competing with half the population. It’s time for us to pull the other half of the population in so that we can all reach higher heights. Arin Reeves has provided a compelling tactical guide on how to do this, a guide for women in business to compete effectively.

    She has dug deep into the behaviors and business systems that hold women back in professional services businesses, and she offers a brand new way of thinking about the problems faced by women in firms. She challenges the “one size fits all” prescriptions for successful rainmaking and offers research and case studies for alternative approaches that individuals and firms can employ to diversify their business development approaches. This book offers women and companies the first practical guide of its kind to bringing talent off the sidelines, and its lessons on team approaches to business development extend well beyond women and professional services.”

  • Lori Stanovich Tucker

    Senior Manager, Business Development, DELOITTE FINANCIAL ADVISORY SERVICES

    “In her new book, Dr. Reeves brings great clarity and depth to the challenges that exist for women in developing business for professional services firms.

    She has introduced a solid road map for navigating these obstacles for female (and male) professionals, and she introduces a new way of thinking for Firm leadership. Firms that employ these new ideas can create cultures that attract the best talent and create platforms for different profiles to be successful in developing new business. Her book is a must read for any professional tasked with creating new revenue for his or her firm.”

  • Sandy Chamblee

    Chief Diversity Partner, STEPTOE & JOHNSON LLP

    “Dr. Arin Reeves’ new book, One Size Never Fits All, may be the most important analytical and strategic consideration of one of the thorniest issues facing professional services firms in the 21st century—how to facilitate effective business development by all of its partners or principals, especially women.

    With this book, Dr. Reeves continues to cement her reputation as one of the most data-driven and avant-garde strategists of our times. She has transcended her long-held role as a premier researcher and consultant on traditional talent management issues, progressing first into the realm of visionary, inclusive leadership with her book The New IQ and now into business development—the backbone of financial success. Dr. Reeves’ focus is how professional services organizations can effectively create and support business development practices that may be outside of the box, but more suitable and effective for women (and some men). In tackling that challenge, organizations can augment their future growth, ensure their financial stability, and open the door for more robust leadership by female professionals. For women, this book is affirming and encouraging. For firm leadership, it provides a blueprint to address a significant challenge. As Dr. Reeves herself stresses, “data as a tool for change is empowering.” Through her well-grounded use of empirical data and her pragmatic strategy, Dr. Reeves empowers both women and men to go beyond historical vehicles for business development, and challenges them to look at new and more universally effective paradigms. This book is an absolute “must-read” for both the leadership and partners/principals of professional services firms.”

  • Catherine Lamboley

    General Counsel, SHELL OIL COMPANY (retired) and Leader-in Residence, Center for Women in Law, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS LAW SCHOOL

    “Can women be successful rainmakers? Reeves says “yes” and clearly explains how through her research, the science of gender differences pertinent to business development, concrete strategies, and her pair of basketball shoes.

    This is the book for firms that want to develop more business. This is the book for women who are frustrated and tired of wearing someone else’s shoes as they try to develop business. And, this is the book for men who want to understand why the women who read this book and implement the strategies are climbing to the top of the compensation and leadership positions (i.e., money and power).”

  • Terry A. Barclay

    President and CEO, INFORUM (Michigan’s largest organization dedicated to accelerating women’s careers and boosting talent initiatives for companies)

    “One Size Never Fits All is the best business book I’ve read all year. It goes straight to the heart of one of the most complex and seemingly intractable issues derailing women on their climb to the top.

    The stories and new research are compelling, making this a go-to resource for leaders and companies who want to win.”

  • Sally Olson

    Chief Diversity Officer, SIDLEY AUSTIN LLP

    “Generalities no longer suffice when it comes to diversity and inclusion initiatives in professional service firms. Firm leaders, firm members and diversity professionals need specific, concrete, focused research that can support game-changing initiatives. Arin Reeves’ new book provides just that — on a topic of critical importance.

    Arin dissects firms’ failure to create inclusive conditions for women’s business development and leadership with humor, common sense, and illuminating original research. Her affirmative contributions to changing the face and practices of modern professional service firms are truly valuable and much appreciated!”