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.
Networking is often seen as the silver bullet to generating new clients – get it right and you will have new clients falling over you (or so the thinking goes). However all to often, professionals find their networking activities a huge drain on their time, energy and spirits.
In the 2nd part of this 3-part blog post series (Part 1 here), I will look at what you can do to spend less time networking, but more time winning business.
3. Spend more time deepening relationships rather than acquiring new ones
Professional service firms do not sell £20 widgets. Stating the obvious, we all sell normally complex and expensive services which come with a degree of risk. This means that intermediaries are not going to automatically recommend you, unless they are sure that you are the real deal and they like and trust you. This deepening of trust and a relationship takes time. Time which many professionals don’t seem to want to spend on their network. (Why? Why? Why?) Look at your networking activities and timetable. Now rebalance it so you are spending 80% of your networking time engaging with and keeping close to your existing relationships.
4. Keep close to your existing clients
Your current clients are your number one source of new work. Either from them personally or people they recommend you too. If you only have a limited amount of free time, then use this to catch up with your existing clients to find out how they are and keep yourself top-of-mind with them.
5. Rebalance your on-line and off-line networking activities
Far too many professionals discount on-line networking. Yes, I know I have been banging a drum about the power of on-line networking for over 3 years now. However, there are times when on-line is better than off-line and vice versa. For finding relationships, on-line is far superior to off-line networking tools. For building trust within a relationship, it has to be face-to-face methods of communication. If you find that you don’t have enough deep and strong relationships in your network, then allocate more time in the short term to some 1:2:1s with your network. If you are finding that you are struggling to make the time to go to networking events, then how about using on-line networking tools to make new contacts and increase the number of touch points with your existing network?
In tomorrow’s blog post we look at the last part of this blog series.