I have a challenge for you.
Over the next 4 weeks, reach out to one person a day during the workweek with whom you have not had contact in at least the past 4 weeks.
No need to talk about business. In fact, I would recommend against it. Ask how they are holding up. What are they doing to keep their sanity? You might learn something about them that you did not know before.
By now, most of you are settling into your new work environment. Some have greater challenges than others. Whether being confined to a small city apartment or a household of children who now need to be homeschooled, this transition hasn’t been easy.
During these uncertain times, I find it healthy to reflect on upbeat memories. I recently recalled the feeling I had when I purchased my first car with my own money — a ’66 Mustang powered by a V8 289 engine. Pure joy! When properly maintained, it was a dream to drive.
This is not a time to be selfish. Whether it is playing your role in social distancing, or helping a client in need, acting in a selfless manner can ultimately build loyal and long-term relationships.
A recent story highlights this point.
Dan Norenberg, who is an executive coach, friend, and mentor, once told me, “Doug, you need to find time to work on your business, not just work in your business.”
It is easy to get caught up in the daily routine of taking care of clients and meeting with prospective ones. Yet in a time when people are working remotely and staying away from human contact as much as possible due to COVID-19, traditional in-person business development needs to be modified.
When someone asks you what you do for a living, how often do you use stories to help paint a picture that will stick in their mind?
I would venture to guess that most of you rarely use stories if any at all!
Not many people say that business development is easy.
“It’s okay to be uncomfortable with business development. In fact, you need to be comfortable with the discomfort” said my former boss and colleague at Deloitte, Kerry F.
I was communicating with a pro cyclist who offered to donate one of his bikes to a non-profit high school mountain bike race league that I have supported the past 10 years. It was a wonderful gesture and simply required us to meet for the bike exchange. After a few text exchanges, he simply stopped communicating. No word since that initial communication and ultimately no bike for an underprivileged kid who would have really appreciated it.
I recently interviewed one of the top rainmakers at an 800+ attorney law firm for an upcoming article I plan to write on how professionals become rainmakers in the professional services world. He said that building a business is not about selling but rather caring. He added that if you truly care about your business relationships, demonstrate it.
As you plan for your business growth next year, how much energy are you focusing on finding GREAT clients rather than MORE clients?
Several professionals who I coached this past year dealt with too many PITA (Pain in the A$$) clients. These are new clients we’re eager to land because they initially look attractive but turn into a drain on time, energy, and margins. PITAs demand lower rates, complain on a regular basis, and never pay for additional work.
My father-in-law once told me that there are four major contributors to stress – moving, getting married, having a kid, and changing jobs. A few years ago, I managed to squeeze all four into one year. To make matters even more interesting, I was laid off from my prior employer.