Every Day ‘Tis the Season for Business Development

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Peace on earth Plenty of Clients will come to stay, when we live Christmas business development every day.”
This is a great (and slightly modified) holiday quote from Helen Steiner Rice – and it couldn’t be more applicable. To be successful at business development, we have to focus on it literally all the time – even during the holidays.

Every day, we have to make the time to build and maintain relationships. One of the reasons that business development requires such a consistent and continual time commitment is that research shows that it often takes more than seven interactions to turn a prospect into a Client. Yes, I know that sounds like a lot. The good news is only 10 percent of people are willing to commit that time. So really, all you have to do is hang in there and 90 percent of your competition will give up. Persistence really does pay.

We also have to take the time to reach out to Clients and prospects we haven’t connected with in a while. Here’s a little something sobering to think about while drinking your eggnog: any Client you haven’t spoken with in six months or more may not actually be your Client anymore. If we don’t take the time to nurture our Client relationships, someone else will be more than happy to.

So forget the fruitcakes (or other only slightly more thoughtful gifts) – break out the mistletoe and get close to Clients (ok, maybe not that close). Just pick up the phone and wish them a happy holiday. Or better yet, connect with them in person. Take them out to dinner and thank them for their business. This can also be the perfect time to arrange end-of-year reviews. Talk to them about what next year may bring. If you ask the right questions and share information about how you can help them, you may even discover an opportunity to work together in the new year. What a nice present…