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Shake the Right Tree

By David Ackert on July, 23 2015

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David Ackert

We all have a general sense of where we get our clients. When asked about it over lunch with a colleague, we say, "Oh, I get about half my new business from existing clients" or "I get about a third of it from my networking group." But the fact that the word "about" invariably creeps in as a qualifier is an indication that we don't know the exact answer. At best, we have an approximation. For many of us, it's been quite a while since we examined our list of existing and former clients so we could attribute the sources. Some of us have never done it at all.

Oh, I know. You just haven't had the time. After all, it would take a good twenty minutes to update the list of former clients, and then there's the analysis itself...and you're already late for that lunch.

apple-orchard But if we don't do this analysis, we're much like the naive fruit farmer who runs through the orchard, shaking every tree. Sooner or later, an apple will fall. But all that wasted time and energy makes for a lean harvest.

So, do yourself a favor and look over your client list. Identify the sources of business over the past three years. If you haven't rewarded your top referral sources in a while, send them each a bottle of wine to show your gratitude. And if you got a referral from someone a long time ago and they haven't referred since, take them out to lunch. They've already proven themselves to be a valuable resource. They just need a little more shaking. And they may be a better use of your attention than many of the other lunches you've scheduled into your calendar.


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