Are you fed up calling and trying to get appointments to win new clients? Is all that rejection affecting your self-esteem?
How about a world where prospective clients beat a path to your door? Wouldn’t that be great?
But how can we make this happen? The answer is…to be seen as the ‘go to’ person – the person who has the insights into the things that clients are concerned about.
This in turn requires two things:
- For you to know what clients are concerned about
- For you to have something insightful, intelligent, useful to say about how to address these concerns.
Finding out about client concerns
There are two ways to do this:
- Using desk research to uncover events going on in their industry sector and in their company. Are there regulatory issues? Are there rationalizations, with mergers and divestments taking place?
- Asking them about future strategies and plans – many of which won’t be in the press reports or on their website. They’ll be in their heads. By asking the right questions, you’ll be getting insights which will put you ahead of the competition.
Having something insightful to say
In other industries (eg banking, insurance etc), these might be called ‘products’. In the management consulting world I’m from they are sometimes called ‘formats’.
To get genuinely useful insights you need a team. We used to get teams of people together, usually with different perspectives, to brainstorm models and develop methodologies. These were usually colourful diagrams with backup checklists and flowcharts.
These workshops helped us understand the complexity of the client situation, but also provided a convincing routemap for going forward. The team aspect is important. A partner by themselves is unlikely to crack this.
Clients liked the outputs from these product development workshops. The output showed we understood their situation (which gave us rapport) and it showed we could steer them through the risks (which gave us credibility). This combination of credibility with rapport is key to business development.
By publicizing our ‘products’, we found that clients beat a path to our door. But even if they didn’t, we found it was much easier to make appointments, which didn’t get cancelled, because we had something useful to say.
How much team-based R&D is your firm doing?