“Business Development.” Ick. The very term sounds dry and cold and heavy. No wonder so many service professionals resist it. “Marketing” isn’t much better. I prefer “Friendmaking” because new business comes from people who know, like, and trust you enough to handle something important. When I have a referral to give out, my friends always get first consideration. If I don’t have a friend who’s a good fit for the opportunity, I’ll send it to someone whom I at least like. So if you’re looking for ways to grow your practice, consider adding friends to your life.
Here’s a good way to make the time you invested into reading this blog pay off: Think of someone you met and liked who is market-compatible (in other words, they have access to your prospects) but with whom you haven’t made the time to develop a solid relationship. Do something nice for them, like you would one of your friends. Send an article of interest; a bottle of wine; an invitation to lunch. Let them know you were thinking of them and that you are invested in them. Express your genuine affinity and make a note to do so again in a couple of months. That should build some momentum and convert the business acquaintance into more of a business friend. (I’m using the old-school definition of the word here, not the insubstantial redefinition that Facebook has introduced into our lexicon.) Compared to most Business Development activities, you’ll find Friendmaking to be a much more enjoyable way to spend your time, and a more likely avenue for trading business opportunities.
Authored by David Ackert