Friday, October 17, 2008

Waiting for the Elections

Yesterday while following up on some prospect calls, the uncertainty in the economy became apparent. Commenting that now was not a good time for their firm to start new marketing initiatives, the Managing Partner of a small law firm indicated that they are waiting to see how the presidential election turns out.

This is understandable. Change makes people nervous, and the turmoil in the markets--coupled with the pending national elections--has some firms taking a "wait and see" attitude.

The down side to this approach is that business development can have a long lead time. While it may be tempting to halt campaigns, now is actually when you need to be formulating your strategy for how to cope with various political and economic outcomes. What are the implications to your firm if the Democrats win? What if the Republicans win? How will either outcome impact your clients?

Regardless of the outcome, you will still need to be attracting qualified new clients. This will be continue to be difficult as businesses struggle to get financing and the economy reportedly moves into a recessionary stage. All the more reason to focus on building your pipeline of new leads.

Converting leads into clients is a related challenge. Good leads probably fell through the cracks during the boom times with little notice; that is no longer the case. All leads should be carefully recorded in a lead tracking system (like Act!, Goldmine, Interaction, Contact Ease, etc.) and monitored over time. Always focus on the next steps needed to make the sale.

Let your competitors "wait and see." The winners will be those who remain proactive in marketing during the tough times.

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