I’m sure we’ve all been in that stomach-churning position of wondering just exactly where you next new decent client is coming from. Or whether you are taking a leap of faith to start to win your own clients. It’s truly gut-wrenching, particularly when you have been actively getting your name out there and supposedly doing the right things. In this two-part article, I share 9 tips which have helped my clients and I personally keep the faith that we are doing the right things with our business development efforts.

Consistency is key

However much you dress up business development, marketing or networking, it is all about consistency. It is never normally just one article which brings home the bacon. It is often a series of articles, or diligently building up your profile and deepening your relationships with the introducer network. Therefore, as long as you are working away at doing the right things, and more experienced business developers than you have confirmed you are doing the right things, then don’t panic, it will happen for you. If you are struggling to maintain a consistent business development routine, then it is time to diarise your business development routine. You may find it helpful to think categorise your business development levels at the same priority as if it was a client project.

Remember awareness and visibility don’t happen overnight

In business development terms, there is rarely such a thing as an overnight superstar. The best business developers have been plugging away at it for months, and sometimes years, before the leads start to role in. It took one of my clients six months of consistent networking, blogging and profile building before his strategy to break into a new marketplace started to deliver leads. Once the leads had started coming in for this client, their number and quality just grew and grew and grew. If you are just starting out to develop your own profile, don’t expect to see much return for at least 3-6 months.

Many firms are looking for a track record of you doing the right things rather than winning your own work

Many fee earners who are looking to make partner, or junior partners can get very anxious about their lack of tangible growth of their portfolio. Many firms realise that it takes time to grow a practice and are prepared to give their future leaders the time to do this. Although some firms don’t seem to realise this! For example, a Magic Circle Firm does not expect their junior partners at the time they are admitted to have already built a practice. It does however expect to see verifiable evidence that you are working on building your practice and see business development as part of your day job.

Remember that transactional work, litigation and “distressed purchase” type work is often thin on the ground

One of my clients is an insolvency practitioner. They face the challenge, like many professionals who offer a transactional type service, that vast swathes of their introducer network may only have a bit of work for them once a year. As a result you can’t expect to meet someone and they be able to give you work every time you meet. The same goes for compliance or advisory type services. Even if they could give you a referral, they may not feel as if they know and trust you well enough to be able to do so. As a result it can often, in the early days of establishing your introducer network, mean that you are spending a huge proportion of time having coffees, teas and lunches without a return on your time investment. As long as you are routinely keeping in touch with the right people in your network and educating them on who you help and the results you help your clients get, the work will flow through in time. In tomorrow’s article, I share the next 5 tips on how to keep the faith with your business development efforts.

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