The up and down economy is aptly named. Up and down may be happening to client psyches, to your prospect pipeline and even to your revenues. Staying positive is essential to projecting the confidence and determination your clients look for in an uncertain world. Staying active makes staying positive possible.
To restart your new business development machine, here are five ways to ignite your efforts:
1. Revisit your new business strategy. Most advisors report that new business comes from referrals. And if referrals have been off sharply, what is the next level of activity you can start to spur referrals? Examine how your last five clients joined you, what these clients have in common and the activities that would lead you to more clients like them. Becoming more proactive toward referral-getting will turn up the volume.
2. Acquire new skills. You can name at least three looming developments that create either a challenge or an opportunity in your business. For example, as a marketing firm in financial services, we think the seismic changes in online and social media habits will change business-to-business firm selection. We are tweeting, blogging and are findable on social media. What are the looming developments in your own business and how are you getting ahead of them?
3. Add prospects. If the pipeline is sluggish, and your sales cycle is elongated, you need more prospects. This means carving more time in your schedule for prospecting, networking, calling back and checking in. These are the activities, along with others, that lead to expanding your prospect list.
4. Spread a little love. A sluggish economy is hard on everyone, including your clients. Spread small kindnesses to your clients. Tune into their worries and make them feel valued and appreciated. Send a card, call with tickets to the ball game, help her son find a job or new contacts.
5. Double down on investment. Invest selectively in your advertising and marketing activity. The two assets that fuel your marketing effort are time and money. Your competitors will be tempted to wind down, take it a bit easy over the summer months. Be strategic in summer entertaining. Summer is a fine time to connect away from the office over golf games and bike rides with people who are important to your business. Loop in Friday visits to out-of-town prospects or have clients over for a barbeque.
The summer months are no time to declare unconditional surrender. Getting things going at a time when your competitors are at rest will pay off.