(For over 15 years Harding & Company has helped hundreds of professionals make the transition from doing and managing client worked selling it. Among our duties is helping the people we work with recognize it when they are avoiding the hard work on developing relationships and generating leads. This is the second of a series of posts on the most popular avoidance tactics.)
Some people avoid the hard work of business development by convincing themselves that their efforts will produce no results. That being the case, there is no point in trying. The most common version of this tactic is expressed in words: “I don’t know the right people, so calling or meeting with them won’t turn up any new business.”
This statement must stand up to two questions:
- Is it true? In my experience it is seldom totally true. Such universal statements seldom are. Most of us know more people than we realize. Also, people’s circumstances change over time. Someone who was not in a position to hire you in the past, may be able to today. Phil, a consultant, called a former client whom he thought would never amount to much. Since they had last talked she had moved to another company. It proved a better match for her, and her career took off. She hired him for a small project almost immediately after his call. I have many examples like this, including one critical to the early success of my own firm, which I have related in an earlier post.
- If it is true, so what? That you don’t know the right people will seldom relieve you of the responsibility for bringing in business to advance your career. So, if you don’t know the right people, you must ask yourself how you can meet them. There are many ways, including meeting more people during your client work, attending professional association meetings, conducting research that will require you to interview those whom you would like to add to your network, cold calling, to name but a few.
Remember, even if your base of contacts is not as strong as you would like, it is always better to be talking to someone in the marketplace than to be talking to no one. If you are talking to someone, something good might happen. If you are not talking to anybody, the probability of success is infinitesimal.