Over the past month, I have been reminded very strongly about the importance of building your online footprint – particularly if you want to save time doing business development. One of the biggest barriers I hear potential partners tell me about is actually finding and making the time to grow their own client portfolio. After all, it is often the lack of a client following which stops so many talented professionals make the step up to partner.

In this final part of a 3-part blog post, (part 1 & part 2) I look at the 5 ways in which you can use your online footprint to help you sign up the right clients quicker.

4. Helps the phone ring without you having to chase down every opportunity

The point in the buying process where prospects make themselves known has changed in the last five years. Previously prospects would announce themselves earlier and use the first contact with you to evaluate your competence, before proceeding to a proposal. Now, with the advent of all the content and knowledge freely available to prospects, they do a large proportion of their research before they call you. Which means when they do call you, they have a good idea that they probably want to buy from you.

I was fortunate to win a large contract to provide business networking training in Ireland. The work was put out to tender, and my tender was successful, without me having to do a beauty parade. I strongly believe that I wasn’t asked to go over to Ireland to do a beauty parade, because they checked out my credibility by looking me up online. This combined with a strong tender submission, meant I got the contract without having to physically present to the client.

Click here to download our short free guide to creating a LinkedIn profile to make sure you are not losing business or job opportunities. (email required)

What have you got in your online footprint which allows your prospects to evaluate your credibility?

In fact, you can take this one step further. You can use the content you provide to educate your prospects to what they can expect from you, and what work they can do to shorten the business development cycle with you? For example, can you provide them with a document, for example if you are an accountant, on ‘how to change your accountant’, which shows them the information they will need to provide to their new supplier, and the questions they will be asked in the process?

5. Allows you to attract the kind of clients you want

I was recently speaking with an ex-client of mine, who I helped with his social media strategy. As part of the work I did with this client I helped him integrate his social media activity with his overall business development strategy. As a result of our work, he devised a content plan for his social media which focused on the problems which he provided solutions to. (The type of problems which he knew prompted his clients to pick up the phone to him.)

As a result of this focus to his content plan on social media, he has almost completely eliminated now the wrong type of leads. I.e. the ones which take time to qualify and never go anywhere. He is generating a significant amount of leads from each new blog post, which are the leads which generally turn into good business for him.

The amount of times that I have seen professionals, such as accountants, consultants and lawyers trying to be all things to all people. You know, the type that on their LinkedIn profile say things like this:

”I work with entrepreneurs, professional practices, start-ups and SMEs”

Is there anyone this person doesn’t work with? All this does with your online footprint is reduce the effectiveness of your marketing, meaning the leads you do produce are often the wrong type, and waste your time to qualify and progress them through the sales process.

If any of this 3 part blog series resonates with you or your own experiences, I’d love to hear your stories and comments.

Click here to download our short free guide to creating a LinkedIn profile to make sure you are not losing business or job opportunities. (email required)

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