As the holiday season kicks off, the sounds of the season are in the air and everywhere (including the almost unlimited commercials that make me want to hug my Tivo). After being subjected to a multitude of mundane messages and monotonous Hallmark moments, I started to wonder if some of them might actually have some value for helping my Clients to develop business. So for the rest of the month, I’ll be looking at a few of these little ‘gifts’ to see how they might be helpful for improving our business development efforts and keep on ‘giving’ all year long.
This quote, borrowed (and slightly improvised) from Charles Schulz, seems a particularly relevant message, since true business development is all about doing things for others – and often, it really is the little things that count.
Business development is all about building relationships – authentic relationships. To establish these types of relationships, the potential Client has to feel that you are putting their interests above your own self-interest. Conveying this impression is almost impossible to fake (that’s why they are called authentic relationships, right?) One of the best ways to build authentic relationships is to do a little something extra.
Like what, you may ask? Well, here are a few ideas you can try with potential Clients: spend a few minutes of non-billable time to answer an important question, send a personalized e-mail or note with an article on a relevant topic, give some money (or even better, time) to a charity that they care about. People will forget that animated e-mail holiday greeting with the canned jingle in about 4 seconds, but they rarely forget these types of things.
So stop spending all of the time, money (and anguish) that is often wasted on the holiday cards and instead focus on building relationships. If you do this, not only will you grow your practice, you might even start feeling that holiday spirit all year long.