Sometimes bringing in new business can be frustrating and even a bit overwhelming at times. The best way to consistently generate new business is by laying out a strategic, integrated approach to your marketing efforts. Here are some ideas to help ignite your business development efforts.
1. Thank Your Top Referral Sources.
Make a list of your top five referral sources and schedule lunch with them to thank them for their referrals. You can also use this opportunity to tell them what your best clients look like and even go so far as to give them a follow-up marketing piece outlining “What a Good Referral for You Looks Like.” We have found that this strategy works extremely well in helping your referral sources remember who to refer to you.
2. Develop Your Top “Thought Leadership Topics.”
Take some time to contact your top (three) clients to ask them for ideas around what they think you should blog or speak about. Then brainstorm additional topics around the top ‘most frequently asked questions’ you get from your clients and prospects. These ideas can then be the foundation for the topics you will write and speak about in the new year.
3. Create an Editorial Calendar.
Consistently communicating your thought leadership across a variety of marketing channels is one of the top ways you can keep your expertise in front of your targeted audience of clients, prospects and referral sources. Start by organizing your ideas on what we call an ‘editorial calendar.’ It can be as simple as taking one idea and putting it one each month of the year as a blog topic and/or a speaking topic. Then discipline yourself on following through and creating the content for each topic.
4. Develop a Niche Marketing Plan.
The more you are known for your expertise around a particular, focused area of expertise, the easier it will be for people to remember to refer new business to you. Then set aside some time to create a marketing strategy around your specific area of expertise.
5. Review Your Association Involvement. Involvement.
in the right association can definitely lead to new business. Are you currently involved in an association? How involved are you? Are you on a committee? We have found through our own personal experience and through our client’s experience that being involved in the right association can present incredible opportunities for meeting people who can refer you new business and even possibly lead directly to new clients!
6. Create a Branded Electronic Newsletter Template.
Consistently communicating with your contacts is essential. If you do not currently have a branded, electronic email communications system established yet for your practice, now is the time to get that established. We encourage our clients to create a branded email newsletter template through a system like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp. By creating this type of newsletter template, you will now have an excellent system in place to push out your thought leadership content to your contacts. Then make sure you have all of your contacts uploaded into the system correctly.
7. Ask Your Best Clients About Their Other Trusted Advisors.
Developing strategic referral partners is a great way to spend less time networking – but also an excellent way to receive higher quality referrals. The best way to develop strategic referral partners is by learning who your best clients are working with. Start by making a list of your top 5-10 clients, and then the next time you meet with those clients ask them to share with you the names of their other top trusted advisors. Ask your clients for permission reach out to those other professionals with the goal of developing a networking relationship with them. Then follow through with reaching out to those other advisors.
8. Create of Update Your “Prospect Pipeline” System.
Organizing your new business opportunities and consistently reviewing them on a regular basis with a colleague is an excellent way to bring more new business in the door. Statistically, those professionals that regularly review their potential new business opportunities (using what is generally referred to as a ‘pipeline system’) generate up to twice as much new business as those who do not track and review their prospects. Do you have your prospects recorded and are you reviewing them.
9. Create a List of Your Potential Speaking Topics.
Speaking is the number way we can gain credibility. As you become more involved in an association and you are out networking more, you will potentially get asked to speak. Now is a great time to do your preparation for when you get asked to speak by taking some time to create a list of topics you have spoken on in the past – or topics you would be willing to speak on in the future. That way when you get asked if you would be willing to speak, you already have your topics pulled together and ready to go!
10. Be a Good Loser.
This may sound ridiculous, but I have found that touching base with those prospects whom maybe choose to go with a different provider over the last year or two is a great business development strategy. When I’ve taken the time to just touch base with those people, I have more often than not found that they are unhappy with the professional they choose and are willing to have a second conversation with me. I have actually been able to close 50% of my ‘missed opportunities’ simply by keeping in touch with them and checking back in. Use this time of year to consider placing a courtesy call or email to those opportunities you may have missed out on this year.
I hope you have found an idea or two from the above list to inspire you and help you keep the new business opportunities flowing into your practice!