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4 business development lies you need to stop believing if you are to rapidly grow a partner-sized client portfolio

These four business development myths are rife within Big 4 and large firms. Believing them could be very dangerous for your career. Heather Townsend, co-author of The Go-To Expert and How to make partner and still have a life, explains why…

Business development, or should we actually call it ‘marketing and selling’, tends to be seen as a dark art in the Big 4 and large accounting and consulting firms. However, business development is rarely a dark art. Done well, it is anything but a dark art. However, that doesn’t stop many lies and myths being trotted out by partners trying to educate their staff on how to start winning work…

Lie 1: You just need to get your name ‘out there’

GTE thumbnail_60Building your profile and reputation is so much more than ‘getting your name out there‘. If you neglect some of the very important pre-work and thinking about you, the services you offer, and the reason ‘why’ clients should work with you, your ‘getting your name out there’ will be pretty ineffectual. In Part 2 of The Go-To Expert, we help you do this thinking, but helping you package you, and what you do in a way which makes you irresistible to your future clients.

It isn’t just about getting your name out there, it is making sure that you get it out in the right places. Far too many accountants and consultants find themselves on the wrong networking scene, talking to the wrong sort of people. Which lawyer or intermediary is really well placed to start referring you work? You will probably find that it will be another external client advisor who you worked alongside on a client assignment at some point.

Lie 2: You can ignore online networking if you have a strong enough network of introducers

The problem is that regardless of how well stocked your little black book is, you will still find potential clients checking you out online before they make contact. If they can’t find you online – and they look further and deeper than just your website – they may not make contact at all. In fact the Hinge Research Institute found that 80% of buyers will check out your website and 60% will look at your online. Fail to provide a congruent and credible online presence above and beyond your website, and you WILL be missing out on potential leads. In chapter 4 of The Go-To Expert, we show you how to build a credible online footprint, so that it doesn’t matter whether you meet a client virtually or physically.

Lie 3: When you have enough clients/business you can stop marketing

In an ideal world, this would be the case. However, projects get cancelled, clients go bust… and very often the professions have long sales cycles. This means if your sales cycle, i.e the time from when you start your marketing to the time when new business is signed, is long, you need to keep the marketing ticking over month in, month out. If you are too busy to take on new clients you can then choose the clients you do want to take on, and ‘resign’ a few clients who are either a pain to deal with or unprofitable. In my experience, the Big 4 firms always have enough capacity to take on more clients…

Download now our free step-by-step guide to building your own marketing plan so you can decide on how much or how little marketing you will do to hit your new business and GRF targets.

Lie 4: Good client advisers will always pick up more work from their clients

This isn’t always the case. After all, it is not your client’s responsibility to find you more work, either on their business or via a recommendation to another potential client. In fact I have many professionals, i.e. accountants and consultants, who are absolutely great at servicing their clients, but lousy at identifying where there is more opportunity to generate work through their clients. Being able to spot opportunities for new business with an existing client is still a skill. Download now our free step-by-step guide to building your own marketing plan so you can build your client portfolio quickly and effectively using proven marketing methods which work.

Download our free six page guide, from our career kitbag, containing 13 tips to help you accelerate your career at a Big 4 firm

Author Credit

GTE thumbnail_100Heather Townsend helps professionals become the The Go-To Expert. She is the author of the  award winning and best-selling book on business networking, the ‘FT Guide To Business Networking’ and the co-author of ‘How to make partner and still have a life’, and ‘The Go-To Expert’. Over the last decade she has worked with over 300 partners; coached, trained and mentored over 2000 professionals at every level of the UK’s most ambitious professional practices.

Heather blogs regularly at How to make partner and still have a life and works with future and current Big 4 partners and professionals from mid-tier firms all over the world

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