During this strange COVID-19 scare, professionals are finding their typical interactions with clients, prospects and referral sources abruptly halted, postponed or altogether canceled.
But, if you think those cancellations give you a pass to put your business development and marketing activities on pause, think again. Author Ray Davis has said, “a challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it.” Despite all the craziness that currently exists surrounding the coronavirus, I submit there are a host of sanitary and safe business development and marketing opportunities for savvy professionals.
1. Check in on your best contacts.
Calling a list of 15 to 20 contacts to let them know you are thinking about them is a wonderful gesture; it will also keep you top of mind in the event they require your services. Take the opportunity to listen to them and to be a voice of reason and stability — no client wants to have to be the one to talk their trusted adviser off the ledge.
2. Increase your activity on social media, especially LinkedIn.
Whether or not you are usually active on social media, there is no time like the present to increase your activity. From creating your own posts to liking or commenting on others’ posts, you can continue to stay at the forefront of your network by being visible to the masses online.
Most platforms, including LinkedIn, allow you to track your progress through analytics. How many people are viewing your profile? How many are interacting with your posts? What topics are trending in your network? Want more endorsements on LinkedIn? Take the opportunity to endorse others and they will likely return the favor.
3. Consider joining and/or increasing your participation in a LinkedIn group or a Listserv.
Your participation within a controlled environment allows you to further demonstrate your expertise and insight within a particular topic or industry. Oftentimes, reporters will search these posts to identify experts to comment in their articles.
4. Focus on relationship brokering.
Seek out opportunities to make introductions between professionals in your network who may have complementary practices. In your introduction, provide enough information about each of the individuals that they appreciate the benefit and value of the introduction.
5. Co-author articles with members of your network.
If you like to write, suggest to a colleague, client, prospect or referral source a topic idea for collaboration. Working together on an article is a great way to take the relationship to the next level; it is also a good idea for increasing your profile among your co-authors’ network.
6. Analyze the strength of your network.
Spend some time combing through email and LinkedIn contacts and make a list of 15 to 20 professionals who have the potential of positively affecting your practice. Then, figure out the next natural step in reaching out and reconnecting. Someone your contact knows may be the ultimate catch.
7. Send checking-in emails.
Similar to recommendation number one above, once you have identified a list of professionals in your network who have the potential to hire or refer you work, send them an email with the subject line, “checking in.” Emails should be brief and conversational. The objective is to get back on the contact’s radar — not to educate or sell them.
8. Create a drive-time call log.
If you find yourself commuting more than 20 minutes to and from the office, capitalize on the time by phoning individuals in your network who have gone dormant. On the best of days, you will get their voicemails! The point is to make sure they remember you exist.
9. Revise your firm website biography and your LinkedIn profile.
Profile descriptions should focus on the type of work you want more of, not necessarily what currently pays the bills. Without giving up confidential client information, include a bulleted list of eight to 12 representative matters that demonstrate to prospects your ability to handle their matters — no one wants to sharpen their teeth on you, especially at your hourly rate!
10. Use newfound time to further educate yourself in a specific niche.
On average, professionals with a niche practice are growing their books annually by double digits. Promoting a specific niche — for marketing purposes — is the fastest way to boost revenue.
Finally, for activities currently calendared, convert them to digital meetings — do not cancel. There are numerous technology platforms and solutions that can supplement the interactions between you and your network. Keep business moving forward as normally as possible by being proactive and creative with your outreach.
Jonathan R. Fitzgarrald is managing partner of Equinox Strategy Partners. He is a fellow in the College of Law Practice Management.
The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm, its clients or Portfolio Media Inc., or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.