This was the recent question posed by the CPA Leadership Institute, of which I reside as an expert panelist. My answer is below:
There is no doubt that one-on-one relationship building is the key to successful marketing/business development among professional service providers; that said, at TIERNEY Coaching & Consulting, we have identified four key areas that, with regular focus and commitment, are a sure guarantee for growth as far as growing a specific niche (industry / target “ideal” client or service area) and they are:
Current Clients – this is the lowest hanging fruit for most providers; clients should be checked in with regularly to identify additional services/needs and to ask for meaningful introductions
Hot Prospects – this would include former bids and lost clients; dream clients that you would love to have in your client list – write down a short list, perform research and reach out – at least 5-6 times over the next 12 months and see what happens
Referral Sources – these few folks touch your target audience – maybe 10-12 potential clients each month; having regular meaningful exchanges with a short list of folks (start with whoever recommended you over the last 24 months) will certainly lead to more business
Target Organizations – selecting one or two organizations where all of the above regularly congregate is a no-brainer to increase your visibility and grow your practice; consider a speaking engagement, attend monthly networking events and / or joining a committee within the group
Concentrating on these four areas – by communicating regularly with them about the service you provide and the value derived from them – is a sure way to grow your business effectively. It just takes commitment and focus.