Two things to check before you panic with your business development
I was preparing for a call with a long standing client of mine. His agenda before the call indicated that he was very concerned about his billing in quarter 2 due to the summer months and impact of Brexit. So I geared up for my usual pep talk about what to do when your pipeline looks a little light. However, when my client came on the call his pipeline of new work looked radically different after 3 new clients had come in and some existing clients had pressed the ‘go’ button on pieces of work they had been dragging their heels on starting. This all happened within 24 hours after he had sent the email to me! In this blog post I will share the key things to check BEFORE panicking about your pipeline
I learnt fairly early on in my own career as a self-employed coach and speaker that I would have busy periods and quiet periods – and learnt to embrace the quiet periods for what they are. (Time to recharge your batteries and get ahead with your marketing!) Many accountants will also have a level of seasonality to their practice. Before you worry about the phone NOT ringing, look back at this time last year. Were you busy or quiet? Or perhaps check in with trusted peers. Are they quiet too, and is this normal for this point in the year?
2. Are you doing the “right stuff” consistently?
When I talk about the “right stuff,” I mean a consistent business development routine that you implement weekly. Your routine will have you keeping in touch with your existing clients and introducers, maintaining a high profile where your clients/introducers hang out on-line and off-line, (yes, both are important), investing in producing high-quality valuable content that you share with your network… you get the picture.
If you are consistently marketing, then new instructions will come in from your clients and network. In the UK we have a phrase “you can wait for ages for a bus, then two always seem to come at once”, and it is often the same with business development. I can go a few weeks without any new client leads and then get a week where four good client leads turn up in 48 hours. It doesn’t stop me being on edge in the quiet weeks, but I’m getting used to relaxing when I’ve not had a new lead for a week or two. It will be the same for you. If you are consistently, and the key word here is consistently, doing the right stuff with your marketing then stop worrying, new work is just around the corner.
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3. Do you have a strong and visible reputation within your marketplace?
Unsurprisingly if you are your profession’s best kept secret, the phone is not going to be ringing frequently! If you have spent the time to build up a strong brand in your marketplace, work will come to you. It may not, as previously discussed, come in a consistent equally spaced out manner.
4. Are you working towards an actionable marketing plan?
It’s not uncommon for me to ask our new members about their marketing plan. And then when I look at their marketing plan it is either too vague, not actionable or not in existence.
Fail to plan, plan to fail
So what do I mean by too vague? For example, talks about ‘networking’ as a means to generate new leads. But doesn’t mention, which introducers to target or which events or groups to invest in as regular attendees. For your marketing plan to be really worth the paper it is written on, it needs to also be action-orientated. I.e. you have to do stuff.
If you are now thinking that you need to take a long hard look at your firm’s marketing plan, how about saving yourself some time and downloading our free guide to writing a marketing plan? (email required)
If you’ve been doing the right things with your business development activities consistently and you are aware of seasonal peaks and troughs in demand for your services, then don’t worry, new leads will appear shortly.