Once you have identified the target for a business development pursuit, then what?

The answer is simple. Whether you’re considering initial and broad based networking or a single focused pursuit, the success you seek hinges on the (often time consuming) work of building and nurturing professional relationship.

Specific action steps will vary depending on the situation; but three basic principles should be at the heart of every aspect of your plan.

  • Create and maintain meaningful visibility;
  • Deliver value on a sustained basis;
  • Instigate dialogue.

This is the DNA of a quality relationship. And these three things are the keys to an action plan that will produce results.

A Short Note On Each

When visibility is limited to two or three times a year, the chances of building much of a relationship are slim. Slimmer still if the contact is confined to some type of mass communique.

Productive relationships require visibility.

If you’re handling your visibility plan in a strategic way, you should be delivering value (as your target defines it) in the process. As is the case throughout this discussion, there are no cookie-cutters; value comes in many shapes and sizes. Insight, counsel, hands-on assistance, and yes…even some entertainment along the way are often built into the action steps of an effective plan.

And if there is no dialogue, there simply isn’t going to be much of a relationship. (Doubt this? Try having a meaningful personal relationship absent substantive conversations.) A productive plan looks for opportunities, and instigates the kind of dialogue that provides an increasingly clear picture of what your target seeks — what s/he values most — what causes “sleepless nights.”

It is a simple formula; but execution isn’t easy. Success at a level that ultimately sustains a practice requires commitment, discipline, focus, and time…as is the case when it comes to making any relationship work.