One notable problem that many professional organisations face is becoming solely reliant on only one business development strategy. They focus all their attention on W.O.M. and reviews, or on social channels, or on giving answers to tenders/RFPs. Generally, they stick with what they know: it’s worked in the past, they have the means to do it, and it doesn’t force them to step outside their comfort zone.
This is no problem during a good spell. But in harder times, if that one source dries out, they are left dehydrated and gasping.
One such way to try and prevent this is by always having several techniques to obtain new customers. These customers / clients can be separated into four categories:
Organisations often overlook their current clients and forget that they are generally responsible for sustaining the organisation. However, by ensuring they are satisfied, this can be a way of securing development and expansion tasks, and receiving recommendations to new customers. Be proactive, see if there’s anything else that you can do to help your valued clients.
Great Possibility Potential Clients
Concentrating on a small number of particular clients who fulfil the initial requirements for being an excellent client (size, industry, location, ethos, etc.). These category of clients have a pre-existing relationship to you, whether it be and ex-client, a subsidiary of a current client or someone who you have been recommended to.
Perfect Potential Clients
Further to the previous category, “perfect potential clients” are those who fulfil all requirements and would be the overall perfect customers. However, there are no immediate relations or access tracks to set up a connection. Generally, longer-term relationship building techniques need to be used: for example searching for potential references or offering promotional services.
These are clients who you do not target directly but they find their way to you regardless. However, you need to be aware and open to these kinds of prospective customers. You could, for example, market yourself on social channels in such a way that you project a relatable message. The key here is to use techniques that make the business seem approachable to a range of potential clients (as opposed to the more targeted techniques previously mentioned.)
Following these routes in the order listed is the recommended protocol – start with what’s closest, most targeted and accessible.