It’s tough out there at the moment. Consumer confidence, government spending cuts, mining taxes and recent commodity weakness have compounded to make Queensland and many cities in Australia tougher places to do business.
For every client we see enjoying and building on their success, we see five more grappling with the tough economy. It is a far different ratio to this time last year when commodity prices were at their highs, and our Government still had pork in the barrels. But if you are one of the five in the tough seat… what are you doing about it? Has your business stepped up its business development and marketing efforts in recognition of tighter purse strings and tougher times? Or are you wallowing in uncertainty not knowing what to do next?
We’re working with some of our clients to double the pace of business development activities and step up their marketing, in an effort to stuff their pipeline with similar amounts of work to the previous year.
Here is five ways you can double the pace of your business development and marketing:
1. Write down your existing and target clients for the coming 6-12 months. Give yourself a definitive focus on your existing clients, and the targets you can and will make contact with who have levels of business activity expected during this period. Look hard at the list. Is it really big enough? What other targets can you seek out in your market? Make the list larger and more definitive than it ever had been … as quickly as you can.
2. Understand who your influencers are. Who are your regular referrers? Who are the people who suggest to those in your target markets that they should use your services? What networks have you built around your business that organically draw clients to you? Write them down and consider how you will engage this group more actively at this time to keep your business front of mind. Get all your senior staff to do this with you.
3. Detail the projected pipeline and make your team accountable to bring it in. If you work in a team, assign out responsibility for each target client and target influencer and make people accountable for driving the relationships properly. If you work productively as a team you can cover a lot more ground doing personal business development than if all roads lead to one or two individuals in your business. Sounds logical, but its amazing how many don’t organise their approach.
4. Make yourself more visible. No matter how you slice it, visibility is the key to getting more business. In my opinion there is plenty of ways to make yourself visible, but in a tough economy stick with the simple ones… and do them with rhythm.
5. Communicate communicate communicate. If your network is larger than 300 people you physically cannot keep up with everyone, all the time. So in addition to increasing your personal communication efforts, consider putting in place regular high quality ecommunications (or even print communications) that will keep you in the eye of your market. But remember to give value with your content, rather than senselessly self-promote. The open rates a company achieves if it gives valuable insights are much higher than the open rates of self-promotional content like case studies and project overviews.
This year, across many industries, it is much harder to find the work to fill your pipeline. If you have to turn over double the number of stones to get half the amount of work this year, you’d better get cracking. What’s that old song… “When the going gets tough, the tough get going…”
Tell us what you are doing to step up the pace?