The Ability to Win Work and Create Opportunities
Modern day professional in law, accounting or similar professions know the importance of winning new business. After technical prowess and subject matter expertise, the ability to win work and create new client opportunities is what separates the good from the great. Sadly, you’re not really born with this skillset, but it can definitely be taught with the right approach.
Once you add BD or business development skills to your brilliant technical expertise, you’re the complete package. You’re valuable to your employers and you gain huge kudos by winning new clients. However, many professionals struggle with even the most basic first step of winning work, which is generating new client opportunities in the first place.
This is sometimes called prospecting, generating leads or creating a pipeline of potential opportunities. You’ve got to get on the radars of the kind of people who might use you when the need for your brilliance comes around. You want to be ‘front of mind’ or the first person they call when they need what you do. If you don’t generate new opportunities, you won’t win new clients. You might event lose out on lucrative cross-selling options with existing clients. Your challenge is to dig out all the possible new business opportunities. The more the better to fill your pipeline and ensure you hit your targets.
7 Smart Ways to Generate More New Client Opportunities
Where is your next piece of business coming from? Truly, you don’t know. Which is why it’s best to develop a few routes to market. A few BD channels. A few strategies to make it more likely you’ll be in the mix if something comes up. Here are seven smart ways to generate more new client opportunities:
- Your research. Your own internal or industry research may uncover pitching opportunities. Google alerts are clever. There is also much good intel online if you know where to look for it. You can’t afford to sit back and wait for your phone to ring. You’ve got to actively go looking for new opportunities. It’s your job to ‘be in the game’ if you want to ultimately win the work.
- Their research. The client may have searched online, asked their contacts or checked industry directories to evaluate firms of advisors for specific skills that they may require. Make sure you’re in the places they look. Make sure you’re in contact with the people they’ll ask.
- Your networking. Simply by keeping in touch with prospects, you can be in the frame when pitching opportunities come up. You need a strong professional network in similar industries (financial, legal, banking, insurance and accounting are good bedfellows for exchanging referrals and opening doors. You also need a good network of potential clients or prospects – people in your target market who are a good fit for your expertise.
- Your reputation. If your name is good, prospects will want you to be in the mix for their business. You may get the RFP (request for proposal), an opportunity to pitch or be invited to chat to them about working together simply because you’re worthy and your profile is good.
- The media. Some pitching opportunities are reported in the press either through an advertisement or through a tendering database (as is the case with public sector pitches). You’ve got to keep on top of relevant media to stay in the game.
- Client contact. If you’re the incumbent with an existing client relationship, you should be invited to any new business, new job or pitching situation. You’d hope they come to you first, but you must mitigate that with strong client contact. Look after your portfolio or you’re in danger of them switching you out. You may not know until it’s too late.
- External referral. Many new client opportunities come from trusted business colleagues and professional contacts as mentioned above. This is why you need to be building and nurturing your professional networks, regardless of where you’re at in your career. Investing in 5 or so referral partners (where business can pass both ways and you are referrable to each other) is a fundamental BD activity for legal, accounting and similar professionals.
However a new client opportunity arises, you should have an effective process, team and approach for evaluating and executing how to win it. The rest of this success guide will give you everything you need to do this. This activity is part of the brand new inhouse BD Academy program which has already helped a top 35 accounting firm generate almost £1m of new business in just 12 months. For a chat to see if it might be a fit for your firm, get in touch here>>