Instead, we encourage you to focus your energies on earning the right to meet the client. This is a completely different mindset, but one that can bring a more successful result.
This right can be achieved by developing your and your firm’s credibility in the client’s eyes, through a highly targeted campaign. The aim here is to set up an initial relationship-building meeting, not to try to sell something.
To create such a campaign (so the client genuinely wants to meet with you) we recommend following these six simple steps:
- Identify key decision makers in target organisations where there are ‘trigger’ events; changes that increase the chance of a receptive response to your approach.
- Thoroughly research your target and its business environment to identify the key opportunities and threats they are facing. Much of this information is in the public domain via websites, trade press and national business press. You can also use your own network of contacts and suppliers to find out anecdotal information. From your research, draw out the top five opportunities or issues that are affecting them and which relate in some way to your areas of expertise.
- Now identify information that touches on these five topics. Here your aim is to send communications, which are really helpful or valuable to the client. In doing so you can demonstrate that you understand their business.
You will also differentiate yourself from other firms, who might simply send an uninformed mailshot. Good sources of information lie in your firm’s event schedule, the articles, newsletters or practical guides it has generated.
- Campaigns work well over five stages, sent out every 7-10 days. Part 1 of your campaign should introduce your desire to meet, but explain that before you call you intend to share your firm’s thinking to enable them to decide whether such a meeting would be valuable. We would also recommend that you give the client the opportunity to opt-out of the campaign if they want.
The next three letters can each draw attention to the last communication you sent (this will remind the client of your approach). Stages 2-4 in the campaign can identify a different issue or elaborate more on the issue you are focusing on. With each, it is advisable to summarise the content enclosed and why you’ve sent it (from the client’s perspective). Each letter should be short – no longer than one page.
- If you can, enlist the help of admin staff to ensure the communications are sent when planned and are presented to the highest standard. In the last correspondence, repeat your aim from letter one. Suggest that you would like to ascertain how useful the communications were and that you’d like to set up an opportunity to discuss your thoughts and ideas further. You can then conclude by stating when you will call.
- Make the call! Make it an immoveable event in your diary and give yourself enough time either side of it to prepare for it and then reflect/plan the next step. In your call to the client sell the meeting, not your services.
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