When business developers show me their client and prospect lists, if they are working in a business to business environment, I am typically presented with lists of company names. A few months later when we revisit the lists, invariably a few companies have been added and a few removed. The focus on companies not people is a missed opportunity in my observation.
On the basis that it is people in companies that choose to buy your products and services, and given the high rate at which people seem to change jobs and move companies, focusing your client and prospect lists on people may yield greater results.
Here are some suggested actions for you to implement with your clients and prospects.
When a client moves to a new company ensure that you “follow” them into their next role.
These are people who already get you and people you have invested far too much effort in to lose contact with. You want to be the first person they take a meeting with in their new company.
LinkedIn is a useful tool for maintaining contact with a person, no matter what company they move to.
Ensure you have more than one good contact in each client company so that when one contact moves on, you still have a strong relationship with that organisation. Having only one person championing your cause in a company makes your business vulnerable.
I recommend that you develop and implement an active people engagement plan within client companies to make this happen.
The same principles apply for prospects; build more than one relationship in your prospect companies and follow your prospects when they change companies, particularly those you have invested time and effort into building rapport.
By undertaking these simple actions you:
- reduce your vulnerability with existing clients
- don’t waste all the effort and hard work you have put into developing relationships with prospects and clients
- expand your list of prospect companies