One of the big weak spots in my own business development is focus. I'm a great starter, not a great finisher.
As soon as I hear of a new, promising approach I love to check it out, research it, try it out for myself.
It makes me a great resource for deep up-to-date knowledge on a broad range of business development topics. But I have to really force myself to follow through and keep going with certain approaches rather than move on to new things once I've got good at them.
In fact, persistence and focus are under-recognised hallmarks of great rainmakers.
Often when I look at the business development activities of some of my clients, the best advice I can give them is “do less stuff – but do more of it”.
Rather than joining 5 networking groups but only going occasionally – join 2 and go to every meeting. Rather than trying to run seminars, speak at conferences, write an article a month, a weekly blog and a podcast – pick one or two and do them really well.
You're on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and OnRamp? Think about focusing your activities on one or two.
Focus and persistence help you in two ways:
- Focusing means you do a better job at each of the business development activities you perform. You learn the skills of the trade through repetition and feedback: be it networking, public speaking, writing or tweeting.
- Your potential clients hear your message consistently. It takes multiple interactions with you before clients feel comfortable buying from you. If you focus on a smaller number of channels, the clients who use those channels will hear from you or interact with you on multiple occasions. If you alternate between many channels you'll hit more people – but you won't get the depth of interaction necessary for them to feel they know you well enough to hire you.
One of the most obvious areas where lack of focus and persistence shows is with blogs. I can't tell you the number of professional service firm websites I've seen (including a number of marketing consultants who should know better) where there are a dozen or less blog entries over the last couple of years, or it started in a blaze of activity, but the last post was 5 months ago.
How do you think this looks to clients? There are really only two interpretations they can make. Either you have nothing to say, or you can't be bothered saying it. Neither of those is a good message to be putting out into the marketplace.
If you are in this situation, a quick piece of advice: turn your longer blog posts into articles and replace the blog with an (undated) articles section on your site. If you haven't got any blog posts meaty enough to turn into articles, then just kill the blog – it's a liability. And seriously consider why on earth you were persuaded into starting one in the first place.