If you’re like most professional service providers I know, the motivation behind your choice of profession had nothing to do with a desire to get into sales…never mind being required to sell in order to do what you set out to do in the first place.

The real-world result of this is a “two-hats” dilemma — requiring one hat for your role as a business builder and a second one as a service provider.

Business development feels like it requires a personality, skill set and tool kit completely different from those associated with the counsel or service you provide.

How do you find prospects? How do you manage your time and create new growth opportunities?

The good news is that there are productive business development strategies that relieve this stress and bridge the disconnect.

The key is to create an approach to business development that grows out of the way you serve your clients. Do this and building a practice becomes much more organic. 

Where To Begin
Continue Reading Stressed Over Business Development? Relax, You Don’t Need More Prospects

When was the last time you were in a room where the problem was a shortage of talk?

Each of us has an experience, a perspective or an insight (or two) worth sharing. The challenge, at least as it relates to building productive relationships, is that some of us (I’m looking in the mirror, FYI) act like the insight is so grand as to warrant the lion’s share of attention in any room.

So there is almost never a shortage of talk.

Meanwhile, interactions where the objective is to listen, intent on learning, are rare.

If you’ve encountered anyone skilled at purposeful listening it might have made you a bit uncomfortable. It almost certainly made an impression.
Continue Reading Is Anyone Really Listening?

Here’s why so many marketing and sales messages fail to deliver.

The average person is hit with the equivalent of more than 34 Gb (gigabytes) of information in a single day.

That’s more than enough info to max out my 64 Gb iPad in less than two days. In order to deal with this onslaught of input, the brain engages in some amazing mental gymnastics.

What messages cut through the noise?
Continue Reading For Greater Return From Your BizDev, Sales and Marketing Messages, Do These Three Things

I’ve spent the last couple of decades believing the surest way for any team, tribe, enterprise or community to realize its mission is to identify and build around a set of shared values. 

The premise is simple. A group will rarely agree on everything. The identification of a set of common values provides a framework against which strategy, investments and actions can be tested.

Does a particular direction run counter to shared values? If so, it threatens the mission, and should be abandoned or reconstituted.

Shared values are the fabric of culture.

But it turns out I have been cutting the conversation short

Strong groups (of any ilk) intuitively understand that alignment around what we share is the initial hurdle to be cleared in pursuit of any goal. Shared values unite us.
Continue Reading What Do We Value Most?

Succession planning for many firms is what the preparation of a Last Will and Testament is to a majority of individuals. Who wants to take time today to consider the (distant) end to something?

It is easy to move both of these future focused opportunities to the back burner — until urgency takes over.
Continue Reading It’s Time To Rethink Succession Planning

The question I get more than any other from new (and sometimes, not so new) acquaintances — professional and personal — is “what was it like giving a TED talk?”.

That’s easy to answer. 

Sure…standing on a TED stage was exciting. It has opened doors, instigated conversations and most significantly, provided a platform for a topic I deem important.

But the TEDx experience had a profound and lasting impact on the way I think about, prepare for and attempt to engage in any opportunity to convey an idea. 
Continue Reading Three Lessons From My TEDx Experience

If you secretly fear your approach to business development is underperforming, you are not alone. In fact, you’re among a majority of law, accounting and consulting professionals and firms I know.

I know there is little comfort in numbers in this case; but this prompts a question: when will the lack of results from the way it’s always been done finally push rethinking the conversation? 
Continue Reading Will Your Investments In Business Development Pay Off?

Strategic planning involves identifying specific goals and defining the action steps necessary to realize those goals. The squishier the goals (a lofty business term, I know) the more difficult it is to map goal-oriented actions. This approach to planning a critical initiative had better come with a hefty dose of luck.

Continue Reading A Better Roadmap for Strategic Lateral Pursuits

Anyone building a professional service practice appreciates the value of relationships. A portfolio of dynamic connections is what fills a pipeline with new leads, referral sources and recurring engagements.

But staying in touch — creating and maintaining the kind of visibility that places you in the right place at the right time — can be a challenge.

Continue Reading 7 Tips For Professionals On Maintaining Visibility And Nurturing Relationships With Prospects