Recently, I was speaking with a client who seemed stuck in his marketing efforts. He had a clearly articulated plan for growing his business that he was enthusiastic about.
And yet, week after week, he hadn't taken much action to implement the plan.
We discussed what might be keeping him from moving his marketing forward and he said he just had too many other commitments (sound familiar?). As he detailed those commitments, though, some seemed less important (at least to me) than building his practice.
When my clients seem stuck in their marketing efforts, I typically suggest we take a step back and discuss why it's important to them to achieve their business development goals.
When I asked this client why he wanted to achieve his goals, he responded that succeeding at business development was important because he wanted to "contribute to the firm."
While contributing to the firm is a laudable goal, it's not the type of goal that motivates someone to head out to an after-hours dinner with clients over heading home to family. Without a compelling and personal vision of what being successful at business development would get him, it was unlikely that business development activities would move to the top of his "to do" list.
This client is not alone in not being able to articulate a compelling reason to engage in business development activities. In fact, when asked what being successful at business development will get them, clients often offer responses like:
- a deeper relationship with a key client; or
- a sense of accomplishment
- increased visibility in the corporate banking community.
Pretty ho-hum motivations, if you ask me! No wonder it's such a struggle to maintain momentum in business development efforts.
Would you like to build your own marketing motivation? Then I recommend you get crystal clear on what reaching your business development goals will get you. If you're not sure where to begin, let me offer some examples of why you might want to make business development a priority:
- You'll increase your compensation and be able to fund something important to you, like being able to take your family on an African safari next summer or being able to make a significant contribution to your favorite charity.
- You'll be rewarded with a place on your firm's Management Committee where you can advocate for changes you believe are critical to the future of the firm.
- You won't have to continue to work with Andre Adams, your least favorite client, or Barbara Berliner, your least favorite partner.
- You'll have a portable book of business that will give you a sense of personal freedom.
- You'll sleep better at night knowing you won't worry about your fate in the next round of partner layoffs.
- You'll have less billable hour pressure so that you can have a more flexible schedule which will allow you to coach your daughter's soccer team.
- You'll have more interesting work, because you'll be able to turn down those eminent domain cases you hate.
Did you notice how each of these reasons is specific and personal? That's the key to being really motivating.
Setting a goal to buy a beautiful lakefront vacation home is much more motivating than making more money. A chance to work on creative financing deals you love is much more engaging than doing more interesting work.
So what's your reason for wanting to be successful at business development? Take a few minutes to envision the most vivid picture you can as to why growing your book of business is important to you.
Once you've created your own compelling vision, I suspect you'll find your marketing enthusiasm renewed. Whenever you find yourself putting those business building activities off, remind yourself what you'll get by putting your marketing plan into action. That should be all the inspiration you need to keep moving towards your business development goals.