Business development is like gardening. Good results require consistent, steady work. You may be lucky enough to drop a seed and produce a flower in a month or two. But chances are better that it will never bloom unless it’s regularly watered, weeded and fed.
That’s why, if you want to produce a harvest of strong clients, you should consistently do tasks that help their interest take root. So we recommend setting the following recurring agenda items.
What you need to do once a quarter:
1. Update your biography.
This includes all the places it’s posted online, such as your company website and LinkedIn. Make sure it includes:
- Your latest achievements such as recognition, appointments and honors.
- The work you’ve completed with the industry you’re serving, such as articles and presentations.
- Career changes, practice updates and new ways you’re serving your clients.
Follow these tips when making your updates:
- Use terminology that resonates with your clients and industry.
- Make it easy to scan. Use headlines and bullet points.
- Optimize it for search engines. What are the words a client would type in to find someone like you online? Be sure to use them so that your biography turns up at the top of their search.
2. Audit networking efforts.
Remove events from your calendar that aren’t producing results and add new opportunities. Begin by thinking about the people who could benefit from your services and plan on attending the events where they’ll likely show up. Remember, business development can be a numbers game. The more people you meet, the better chance you have of getting business. So if you remove a networking activity from your calendar, always replace it with something that could be better.
3. Connect with dormant clients.
Keep track of clients who don’t have an active file and invite them to get together for lunch or dinner. Of course, do this off the clock. Listen to them intently to find out the challenges they’re dealing with right now. Chances are you’re going to find opportunities to support them. If you’re just too busy to meet, send them industry news that’s relevant to them with a quick note that you thought of them when you read it.
What you need to do once every two weeks:
4. Update your contacts.
If you’ve been networking with potential clients, connecting with colleagues and creating new opportunities, make sure your contact list reflects your hard work. Updating it regularly will ensure no one is missed, and you won’t be struggling to remember details months down the road. Contact management can be cumbersome. If your firm struggles to centralize relationship intelligence, and it’s led to lost clients or missed opportunities, you may want to consider client relationship automation.
5. Leverage social media.
Position yourself as both thought leader and cheerleader before your clients and colleagues on social media.
- Amplify yourself. Were you interviewed by a reporter? Featured in a blog post? Presenter at an event? Don’t take it for granted. Publicize your achievements through social media like LinkedIn.
- Amplify your network. Do the same for your colleagues and clients. They’ll notice and appreciate it. You don’t have to spend all day online, just spend a few minutes noting the posts that stand out.
- Amplify your industry. Curate compelling news from your industry and repost them. Chances are, if you thought an article was worthwhile, the rest of your network will, too, and will be glad you shared. It’s an easy way to position yourself as a thought leader.
Free sites like Hootsuite can help you easily update all of your social media accounts at once.
6. Send some snail mail.
Does your client or prospective client have a birthday or special anniversary? Drop a handwritten note in the mail recognizing it. Small, thoughtful gestures pay off.
These tasks can be completed quickly, in as little as an hour a month or less. They just require commitment. So mark your calendar to do the little things that grow a thriving business. If you want more business development ideas, be sure to subscribe to our blog.