Thursday, April 22, 2010

How Long Should I Stay in Touch with a Prospect?

This question came up during a recent business development seminar I was conducting, and it's a good question.

Here are 5 business development tips:

1. "Polite persistence," when carefully managed, is the art of staying in touch without being a nuisance. It's an acquired skill that can help expand your network significantly. A lawyer should stay in some type of contact with prospects until they learn for sure that the party is not interested.

2. Prospects can be prioritized. A low priority prospect can be added to a quarterly newsletter list, making it possible to stay in touch without the need for person-to-person contact. A high priority prospect, however, warrants personal attention like a call, coffee, or lunch, on a regular schedule.

3. Focus on "what's next." You can even ask your prospect, "what is a good next step" for us? They might say to check back with them in 3 months, or to call them next week. Take your cue from the prospect.

4. Don't quit. You need to constantly be planting seeds of business development. Some may not sprout for a couple of years, but you always want to be paving the way for a brighter future.

5. Ask for referrals. If your prospect does not need your legal services right now, perhaps they know someone who does. It doesn't hurt to ask.

The more people you can stay in touch with, the more robust your pipeline will be.

Remember, never stop marketing!

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