Professionals often see identifying a target set of clients as a first step to developing business. It becomes a time consuming analytical process in the quest of increasing the efficiency of their rain making.
I’m not against targeting or increasing efficiency. I am in favor of a sense of urgency about bringing in business, which dictates that you get out into the market now. (See the posts Rain Making = Doing and Bah to Brochures for more on this subject.) The need to find business is too urgent to go on hold while you do weeks or months of market analysis. Targeting often serves to delay activity, when it needn’t.
You can start calling and meeting with people now, before you develop a target list and do it without much loss of efficiency. You can do it by lumping, instead of targeting. That means you take a few moments, or even up to half an hour, to identify those organizations and people who obviously belong in your target market and start with them, now. You can continue your analyses of less obvious candidates as an ongoing task. But you don’t need more than a lump of good targets to start making calls and having meetings.
The head of a small regional office of a larger firm did this with his leadership team. He reported, ”We switched our thinking. We used to try to figure out who would be best to do business with and then spend a lot of time trying to find a way in. Now we look for who we have an entre with that we would obviously want to do business with and go after them. It’s transformed our business development efforts. We are doing much better.”
Sounds pretty efficient to me.