Effective business development starts with a plan. Without a plan, business development can become unstructured, unproductive and expensive – with limited or no return on investment.
We commit random acts of golf or lunch – inviting the same people who have never given us business. We spend weeks preparing for presentations for groups of attorneys – who are competitors instead of potential Clients. We spend hours writing long-winded white papers – for obscure, scholarly publications instead of industry or trade periodicals. We pay thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, for sports and event tickets – that end up unused or used by our associates and their friends. We give ‘til it hurts – to charities and causes with no ties to our strategic business development objectives. We don't prepare before the meeting or measure results afterwards. In short, we fail to plan, which is a plan for failure.
Without a plan to follow, it’s just too easy to fall into the habit of doing what we've always done or what we are comfortable with and hoping we might be successful. Doing what we have always done and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. And hope is not a strategy. And this scattershot approach is not a good way to develop business.
For successful business development, the ‘shotgun’ is not the weapon of choice. Instead you want a rifle with laser focus in your arsenal. Stop settling for doing the same things. You need to focus on the right things. The key is to make your business development efforts as effective as possible and get the highest possible return on the time you invest. Take the time to set your sights and really aim. But before you aim, you have to have the right target...