There’s so much information available about business development—books, seminars, personal coaching, online solutions, companies that business develop for you, and on and on. You’ve probably tried multiple things, with both successes and failures. Here are some thoughts in working with many, many companies and individuals in my 22 working years.
Generally speaking, a diversified approach is best:
- Get your website presence in tip-top shape, preferably operating as a sales tool for you, not just serving as the equivalent of an online brochure.
- Review your online presence on all the social media sites you’re active with. Most professionals find that a solid LinkedIn profile is their most valuable resource for networking and business development.
- Develop a business development plan: What are YOU personally going to do on a day-to-day basis to increase the flow of opportunities in your new business pipeline? Options might include social media posts, including articles and educational advice to colleagues, or e-mailing current clients to suggest new projects. Find the ones that fit your personality and that actually generate revenue for you.
All of these efforts can be effective, and you can certainly fill your days with these or similar initiatives. What do all of the above have in common? You’re able to do it all without opening your mouth, and that leads us to the almost lost art, the missing piece of the business development puzzle: I implore you to start talking! That’s right. Make a conscientious effort have actual voice conversations with clients, prospects and colleagues. Pick up the phone and talk to someone. Meet someone for a business lunch and talk. Schedule a time to go to a client’s office and, you guessed it, talk.
You’ll be amazed at how often new business will arise in the days immediately following personal conversations or individualized outreach. People like to connect with people, and they’re more likely to do business with people they feel connected to and like. Give it a try…just talk.