During the holiday season, the flow of new business can often slow down for professional service firms. So we thought we’d take this opportunity to share with you some simple ideas on how you can continue to generate new business during this time of year. Just remember, the best way to consistently generate new business is by laying out a strategic, integrated approach to your marketing efforts. Here are some ideas to consider as you move into the New Year:
- Thank Your Top Referral Sources. Make a list of your top five referral sources and schedule lunch with them to thank them for their referrals this year. You can also use this opportunity to tell them what your best clients look like and even go so far as to give them a follow-up marketing piece outlining what a good referral for you looks like. We have found that this strategy works extremely well in helping your referral sources remember who to refer to you. Here is a helpful recorded webinar on this topic: “How to Get More Referrals From Your Clients and Other Professionals”
- Develop Your Top Thought Leadership Topics for the New Year. Use this time of year to personally call your top three clients to ask them for blog or speaking ideas that highlight the expertise they most value. You may also brainstorm additional topics covering the most frequently asked questions you receive from your clients and prospects. These ideas can then be the foundation for the topics you will write and speak about in the upcoming year.
- Create an Editorial Calendar. Consistently communicating your thought leadership across a variety of channels is one of the top ways you can keep your expertise in front of your targeted audience of clients, prospects, and referral sources. A great first step is organizing your ideas on what we call an ‘editorial calendar.’ It can be a simple spreadsheet or list that captures your ideas and the months you would like to showcase these ideas a blog post or a speaking topic. Then discipline yourself on following through and creating the content for each of these topics.
- Construct a Niche Marketing Plan. The more you are known for your expertise around a particular, focused area of expertise, the easier it will be for people to remember to refer new business to you. Use this time of year to set aside some time to create a marketing plan around your specific area of expertise. If you have not already identified a niche for your practice, watch this webinar for ideas on how to execute this method.
- Review Your Association Involvement. Involvement in the right association can definitely lead to new business. Are you currently involved in an association? How involved are you? Are you on a committee? We have found through our own personal experience and through our clients’ experience that being involved in the right association can present incredible opportunities for meeting people who can refer you new business and even possibly lead directly to new clients! We have a helpful blog post and recorded webinar on this topic for additional help.
- Create a Branded Electronic Newsletter Template. Consistently communicating with your contacts is essential. If you do not currently have a branded, electronic email communications system established for your practice, now is the time to get that in motion. We encourage our clients to create a branded email newsletter template through a system like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp. By creating this type of newsletter template, you will now have an excellent system in place to push out your thought leadership content to your contacts. Then all you have to do is make sure you have all of your contacts uploaded into the system before the beginning of your editorial calendar.
- Audit and Increase Your Activity on Social Media. This is a great time of year to evaluate your activity on social media. Is your LinkedIn profile complete and up to date? Do you have a company LinkedIn page? Do you have or need a Facebook page? You can also spend some time creating a ‘Hootsuite’ account for yourself and your practice. This will assist you in pushing out content (your own and curated content), which will ultimately elevate your credibility in the eyes of your contacts. If you have questions about how to do this, here are two recorded webinars to help you. “How to Build Your Reputation Using Social Media” and “How to Develop, Find and Share Valuable Content on Social Media”
- Create or Update Your Prospect Pipeline System. Organizing your new business opportunities and consistently reviewing them on a regular basis with a colleague is an excellent way to bring more new business in the door. Statistically, those professionals that regularly review their potential new business opportunities (using what is generally referred to as a ‘pipeline system’) generate up to twice as much new business as those who do not track and review their prospects. Do you have your prospects recorded and are you reviewing them? If you need help with this, we have a blog post and a recorded webinar to help.
- Create a List of Your Potential Speaking Topics. Speaking is the number way we can gain credibility. As you become more involved in an association and you are out networking more, you will potentially get asked to speak. Now is a great time to do your preparation for when you get asked to speak by taking some time to create a list of topics you have spoken on in the past – or topics you would be willing to speak on in the future. That way when you get asked if you would be willing to speak, you already have your topics pulled together and ready to go!
- Be a Good Loser. This may sound ridiculous but I have found that the end of the year provides an excellent opportunity to actually touch base with those prospects that maybe chose to go with a different provider over the last year or two. When I’ve taken the time to just touch base with those people, I have more often than not found that they are unhappy with the professional they choose and are willing to have a second conversation with me. I have actually been able to close 50% of my ‘missed opportunities’ simply by keeping in touch with them and checking back in. Use this time of year to consider placing a courtesy call or email to those opportunities you may have missed out on this year.
As the year comes to a close, I hope you have found an idea or two from the above list to inspire you and help you keep the new business opportunities flowing into your practice!