Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Door to Business Development

Writing, speaking and other reputation-building or marketing activities are a great way to open the door for business development, but to be really successful, you have to walk through it. This door may lead to a lot of places, but the one place it should almost always lead you is out of the office.

That’s because the most effective business development is done face-to-face. To be a successful business developer, you have to get out from behind your desk and go see the Clients and prospects. Sure, there are other ways to develop business, but absolutely none more effective.

Does this mean you have to network at rubber chicken fundraisers or 'schmooze' at cocktail parties? Not unless that's your thing. But what it does mean is that you have to add ‘face time’ to your business development activities.

This means that when you write an article, you think about individuals who could benefit from it and send it to them with a personal note. When you develop a seminar, you offer to present it in-person to top Clients or prospects at their offices. When you speak at an event, you stay afterwards to answer questions or call to follow up with people who request additional information. When you attend a conference, you take prospects or referral sources out for dinner or cocktails. Most importantly, you plan face-to-face business meetings with your top prospects to assess their needs - because until you do, you have no idea how you can help them – and that is the key to developing business.

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