How are you spending the time you invest in business development?
In most firms, everyone focuses on building their business development pipeline. This is definitely important and needed. In fact, a lot of professionals we know spend the majority of their time forecasting, analyzing, adjusting, and justifying their business development pipeline.
But people buy things from people, not companies. You need to spend as much - or more - time nurturing your relationship pipeline. It is the strongest leading indicator of your future business development success.
Management guru Ken Blanchard introduced the concept of Raving Fans in 1993 in his book titled Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service. His book gave common sense, realistic advice to a new area manager on how to beat his competition by taking extraordinary care of his clients, who in turn, would become raving fans.
It is a great term. When someone raves about you, your product, your service, your company, and your integrity, they are creating valuable positive reinforcement for the people you are targeting as your clients. In business development, it is essential to build a Raving Fan pipeline. It takes dedicated attention, but it is well worth the time and effort. Without dedicated attention, relationships languish. Your relationships with key clients and prospects can take years to build if left to chance.
Module 4 of our trademarked GrowBIG® business development system speaks specifically on techniques you can use to shorten the path to Raving Fan from years to as little as three months. Once a client becomes a Raving Fan of you and your business, you have a significant relationship where you'll continue to help each other. Raving Fan clients will refer you to people inside and outside their organization and make introductions to specific clients or industries for you. They'll give you feedback on your business and help you to be successful.
Investing time in your clients to build strong relationships with them has a great return on investment and it is personally rewarding as well. Your relationship pipeline is as important - or more important - than your business development pipeline.
Invest in it.