Published Date: 7-Jan-2020
Deals opportunities are initiated in two ways:
Q. Where do you start this part of the transition from reactive to proactive?
A. With a few questions:
1. Do we really know our clients?
INDIVIDUALS within the firm will have different professional relationships with clients and know different facets of their business and ambitions. The problem is that the FIRM may not have that information. Managing your conversations with clients at key times like annual reviews to include areas like plans, stresses and ambitions, will build a picture of their appetite or the presence of a nascent strategy. Centralising or sharing this data provides a basis for proactive service development firm wide. Any simple relationship management tool will allow this knowledge to be filtered and exploited by all service areas.
2. Are we willing to suggest deal opportunities to clients?
For firms making the transition to proactive activity this is a legitimate and vital question. If a team member’s professional experience to date has been to report and react to historic events that is a safe place. Discussing the responsibilities as well as the benefits of introducing deals to clients in open forums will build confidence within the firm to reach out to clients. Not everyone within the firm will be suited to this work, that is not a problem, the aim is to instil confidence in the process for those who can.
3. Do we have a referral system between our service areas which recognises the value of the referral?
Every growth oriented business loves referrals, they remove the need for resource burning research, cold calls, and the whole lengthy introduction process; but within your firm what is the recognition given for a referral? Referrals are made by individuals, individuals think in terms of job security, advancement and recognition. Taking the time to publicly acknowledge a good referral or privately explain the issue with a poor referral (while acknowledging that the action is welcome) will develop the Firm as a whole. If there is no obvious benefit for someone in compliance, who is working all hours to complete EOY work, to make note of a lead why would they do it? We would like to think that professionality would lead them to do it but how many are missed? In diverse teams of very skilled professionals like a large accountancy practice the natural progression is towards a silo mentality. Activities like inter speciality working groups developed to facilitate the mutual recognition of the value of shared data can be used to open up the trove of additional fee income possibilities currently locked within the silo.
Turning proactivity into productivity
The purpose of proactivity is to increase transaction and Fee levels. This is delivered by identifying the most likely sources of business and concentrating on them. For Corporate Finance teams lead production is the key to increased transaction levels; so how do you maximise the number of leads you produce? The easiest source of leads are your existing clients. When you come in contact with your firms clients do you maximise that opportunity?, do you have solid processes in place to help your teams identify and pass on leads?
In business development terms is your firm a single team or a group of teams?
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