So, you've spent years building the skills you need for your business to be successful.
Hours, Days, Weeks, Months, Years, Decades of study, discipline, experience, continuous education, technical training.
Over time, you start to bring people in around you, to build out your team
Each member of your growing team has, are, and will invest hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades of study, discipline, experience, continuous education, technical training.
Over time, 10's of years, becomes 100's of years of skill and experience.
What is missing, I often find, are the skills to generate business. Sales, if you will.
Ironically, the single, most, important skill every business owner needs, and every team member should have.
Landing clients is the 'petrol in the engine' of business.
It is the 'bread and butter' issue that makes the difference between a successful Firm and a struggling one.
Here's 10 practical things you can do to build your Firm's business. These timeless principles can be applied again and again, day after day, year after year, decade after decade.
They are proven to generate new revenue, new client accounts, new opportunities, when done right.
1) Leverage Your Current Contacts
One of the hardest ways to sell a new product or service is cold calling. I'm told, that in some professions, it is actually unlawful. Not many, but some.
Let's look at the data. It can take 1,000 contacts to generate one qualified lead. That doesn’t' mean you've found a client. Just a qualified opportunity to work on.
The smartest people I know look to their contacts, the people they already know i.e. warm leads to find new clients.
Every existing client, strategic partner, or contact can generate 5 or more names or companies that might need your help.
Referrals and introductions should be a constant, consistent, competent strategy in your business development.
2) Strategic Partnerships
Strategically connect and share referrals and introductions with complimentary organisations to your own.
Build your own, specific, focused, networking group.
Partnering with organisations who don't operate in the same areas of expertise and services, but you do share very similar client-bases.
Business Owners who openly, uncompromisingly, share client-bases with other Business Owners grow faster than those who operate a closed book business.
Build the modern version of 'The Butcher, the Baker, and Candle-Stick Maker'.
It's a truth that most clients don't really know what you do.
They only know what you did. The day they bought what you do from you.
After that it can get a little hazy.
Cross-selling is the concept of providing more than one service to a client who made an enquiry for an initial need and is now introduced to additional services.
For example, someone comes in to a Solicitors for corporate litigation advice, could be cross-sold employment law services.
An Accountant helping a client with their annual accounts could cross-sell book-keeping services.
Clients tend to work with those they like, know and trust.
Make sure they know what you do and what other opportunities exist to work together.
4) Dedicated Business Development
Sales and new business don't happen on their own.
You could wait for those 'Magic Beans' you bought from that 'Magic Bean' Salesman to start to sprout and grow.
If time is on your side, perhaps even staring at the phone for a living may result in it ringing. Unlikely. But not impossible.
Businesses that succeed work consistently, confidently, competently at increasing their markets awareness of their service offerings and value propositions.
They do not place all their bets on Red 3.
They know that an effective business development strategy includes a number of different, but complimentary, elements.
These might include Social Media, Advertising, email Marketing, Networking etc.
Dedicate specific time, daily to boosting your Firm's name in the local marketplace, and beyond, as a regular practice.
5) Be A Friend
Business in many different cultures is developed simply by being social and a friend to clients.
Have lunch with them, go to events together, or simply hang out on the golf-course with them from time-to-time.
Not with the expectation of getting something out of them.
Simply for the pleasure of their company and in the pursuit of knowing each other better.
Small amounts of time socialising can have a surprising impact on the growth of your clients and your business with them, based on solid friendship.
2 of David H. Sandler's most famous rules were:
1. People tend to like people like them.
2. People like to do business with people they like.
How would you assess your current sales environment?
Excellent? Well-run? Average? At-Risk? Unsure?
If you currently assess as less than excellent it might make sense for us to have a brief conversation.
I don’t know if I can help, but I know that if we talk, we can work that out, together.
I can be reached on M: +44 (0) 7773 397810 or P: +44 (0) 118 969 1752
During our call you can assess me, decide if it makes sense for us to meet and talk further.
There’s no pressure. If we don’t think there’s a good fit, we can both be honest and say “No, thanks”.
We’ll part as friends.