For many, the chase is simply easier than the work associated with building and nurturing lasting relationships. The chase offers variety, the thrill of an adrenaline rush, and – win or lose – it’s off to the next pursuit. No working through misunderstandings and unrealized expectations.

No — we’re not talking about personal relationships — any parallels notwithstanding. This is about business development.  And for some reason, many professional service organizations and providers invest disproportionate amounts of time and energy chasing prospects and irrestible “opportunities.”

Disproportionate because, for the vast majority of consultants, lawyers, accountants and other service providers, the shortest path to revenue growth lies in meaningful conversations with existing clients.

This would seem to be of particular interest in today’s marketplace — where any growth is rare, and leveraging every investment is a must.

The math is simple. Deepening an existing client relationship is almost always a better investment than the costs — hard and soft —associated with the pursuit of a non-client target. Leverage an existing client relationship by a) broadening the services provided; and b) involving other team members, and not only are you on the road to increased revenue; you’ve also increased profitability.

Just in case I have to say it — here goes: this is not a suggestion that we should not engage in the pursuit of new clients. It is to suggest to all of us leading business development efforts — when we invest more in the pursuit of new opportunities than in the care and nurture of existing relationships, we may be victims of the thrill of the chase.

Relationships that endure and grow are the result of a calculated investment in the proactive art (and, yes — often drudgery) of dialogue.

(The same might be true in the personal relationship arena, as well!)