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 the second part of this two-part article, I share the remaining 5 tips which have helped my clients and I personally keep the faith that we are doing the right things with our business development efforts. (1st 4 tips here)
Stick to the plan (or make a plan!)
Very often people fail to get decent or any results for the return on their business development activities because they fail to work to a plan. It is all too easy to turn up to networking event ‘on spec’, or arrange 1:2:1’s with your ‘safe’ contacts and fool yourself that you are doing your business development because you are doing something. With business development it is incredibly easy to be a busy fool. As long as you are consistently working to a business development plan, which directly aligns with your strategy to grow your practice, the work will come in time.
Check how targeted and focused you are
The broader the target audience you are trying to appeal to, the less likely you will appeal to anyone. As the saying goes, jack-of-all-trades, master of none. If you are finding it very difficult to get decent leads or convert decent leads, then consider niching down a level. i.e. instead of chasing local small businesses, how about going after local small professional practices? If you are concerned about being spread too thinly, then ask your introducer network about whether you have differentiated yourself enough from your competitors and peers. For example, one of our clients started to get a steady stream of new clients from her local bank manager when she showed her how passionate she was about delivering an affordable, high quality and personable service to technology led businesses. Being targeted and focused isn’t just about how wide your target market is. It is also about how targeted you are with your relationship building time with the right introducers and how defined your business development routine and activity is. If you are concerned about not being targeted and focused enough, then consider taking some advice from your mentor or coach.
Increase your activity levels
Lead generation is a numbers game, plain and simple. If you are not getting enough new business through the door then seriously consider upping your activity levels. For example, if you blog monthly, then increase the frequency to fortnightly. When one of my clients went from a bi-monthly to a monthly newsletter to his key contacts, the leads started to roll in.
Get to know the seasonal patterns
Every January and early February I used to have a huge lull in new business leads. For the first few years that this happened, I would get very anxious. Then I learnt that this was a seasonal pattern and I should be aware of this and react accordingly. Think about your ideal client and identify when they are unlikely to be reaching out for your assistance. Of course there are no hard and fast rules with this. However, I know that I am unlikely to be starting a big client project in August or the middle of December. Now, I plan to take time out in these periods of the year.
Measure and monitor what you are doing.
You may feel as if you are not making any progress. Until you have started to get leads through the door make sure you measure and monitor the impact of the activity you are doing. For example, are you meeting more introducers by taking an active role in a young professionals group? The more data and information you have about what looks like it is working and what isn’t will help you take informed decisions about where to invest more of your time in the future.