As the year draws to a close and we start to wind down with an array of festive celebrations, we set out twelve business development tips to ensure that clients are at the heart of the holiday season.
On the first day of Christmas.......Reach out
You know that card you get from that Aunt that you never really see, but who always remembers you? Well, Christmas and the New Year are great excuses to reach out “just because”. Think of your network; who are your long-standing supporters; and who are the new connections that you have made over the year? Send an email and get in touch with them. Find out how their year has been and make plans to meet for a festive catch-up or New Year coffee. It’s a great way to reconnect.
Business Development Tip Number 2: Gather Feedback
Christmas marks the end of the calendar year. Get yourself into the best possible place for goal setting and ask for some feedback. What did you do well and what could you do even better next time? You might choose to go to a selection of your clients, or perhaps you will choose some longer-standing clients for a year-end review meeting. Feedback strengthens relationships and helps set the stage for collaboration next year.
Business Development Tip Number 3: Say Thank You
Say, thank you. Yes, really. Find a list of everyone who has worked with you over the year and reach out to them to say thank you. Yes, this could be a card, or be accompanied by a small gift, but an email is also effective. Maybe your firm could donate to a charity on each client’s behalf?
Business Development Tip Number 4: Set Goals Together
Set goals together. If you have conducted a year-end review meeting, think about what that means for your working relationship in the new year. What are you going to do to make the relationship even better and show that you have listened? All too often we think about account management without involving the client. Be different and include your clients in this process. What would they like to see?
Business Development Tip Number 5: Christmas Party - with a twist
Christmas parties might sound a bit cliché, but they are a great excuse to reach out to your clients and get them together. Be mindful of competing demands on their time and think about how to make your party slightly less cliché. Maybe you could do a breakfast event, or bring in a speaker to delight your clients with. Maybe you could “gift” your clients a session with some festive training. Just because Christmas parties are cliché, it doesn’t mean yours has to be.
Business Development Tip Number 6: Provide Value
Provide value to your clients. This shouldn't be reserved for the year-end, but the year-end is a great time to think about this. For many clients, Christmas is a time to catch up with some reading or take things a little bit easy. What content have you produced over the year that might be of interest to them? Can you package it up so that they can digest it over the holiday period?
Business Development Tip Number 7: Reflect
Reflect on what you set out to achieve at the start of the year. What relationships have been strengthened? Which have fallen by the wayside? Think about your key learnings from the year just gone and start to reflect on what you might do more, less, or the same next year.
Business Development Tip Number 8: Get ahead
Nothing on the TV? The novelty of Charades worn off? Why don’t you use the holiday to get ahead of the game with your business development. Maybe you have some articles that haven’t seen the light of day because you have been too busy, perhaps you were fleshing out an idea for a webinar or podcast – use your downtime to get ahead for the year ahead.
Business Development Tip Number 9: Cross-Team Collaboration
Cross-Team collaboration. We often forget that great business development starts close to home. As firms will be using Christmas as an excuse to get teams together, why don’t you capitalise on the time you will be spending together to learn more about what colleagues have been up to and what plans they have for the year ahead. Think about how you can collaborate more closely in the new year.
Business Development Tip Number 10: Client Appreciation Webinar
Maybe you have a rolling programme of vents so you don't need an excuse to put something into the calendar. If you don't the end of the year is a great excuse to host a webinar with some key insights for clients. Maybe you can gather together insights from the events you have hosted over the year, or from lessons learned navigating the complexities of your day job. Say thank you to your clients by inviting them to a celebration of insights!
Business Development Tip Number 11: Strategic Planning
Everything that we have suggested requires some planning and, depending on how large your network is, some strategic thinking. The conversations that you will have might throw up new opportunities and insights that can help inform your business development strategy for the new year. Make the most of these to create or refine your strategic to hit the ground running in January.
Business Development Tip Number 12: Respect Difference
Remember that Christmas is a special time for many of us. For others, it is not. Respecting and acknowledging differences is essential. Think about inclusive communication, both inside and outside of your firm. A lot of the points that we have drawn out are seasonal because Christmas and the calendar Year End fall closely together. Be mindful of differences when communicating with clients.