British Airways got a real boost from this marketing and business development ad, “Emails Don’t End in Handshakes.” It today’s highly competitive market for professional services, one-way electronic communications do not win new clients nor retain current clients. That is why in our marketing and business development keynotes and seminars, we emphasize the absolute need to build trust through personal relationships.
Just as we teach specific tactics to create partnering relationships, we must realize that there are specific behaviors on our part that can further our relationship with them or destroy it altogether.
As “emails do not end in handshakes” emphasizes, in business development, it is critical to go where your clients go. If your clients, prospects and suspects will be attending an industry or ACC conference, be there to reinforce the relationship. Ask them to be on panels with you or co-author an article. Learn more about the charitable organizations that are important to them. If a prospect is speaking at an upcoming event, attend it even if the subject matter is not in your particular specialty area.
Business development does not occur simply by offering an engagement letter. Closing skills begin with the first contact and involve following up, building the relationship, understanding their business, business brainstorming and offering ideas before ultimately asking for the business. In other words, being face-to-face, even if only occasionally, is how you win and keep clients. Indeed, to grow business, emails do not and will not end in handshakes.
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