I'm looking for a good resource (could be any format - books, magazines, and espec. if there's a good podcast) on building a client base within a professional services environment.
Not actually for me (for once!), but I'm trying to give some guidance on the area and would like to do more than "well, in my experience...".
The situation for my mentee is that he has reached a position in his organisation where he needs to build a client base directly, not just leverage off existing clients of the company. He is not getting very good guidance (or in fact, any) from his own company and manager on how to market yourself and win new clients.
The obvious things I've suggested are:
-- Get yourself published to build your professional reputation
-- Use your existing connections to get introduced to people
-- Listen to the networking cast on Manager Tools (and use it)
-- Ask for advice from senior people who you know are good at it
-- Don't go down the path of inviting people to boring lunches they'd rather not be at, etc.
However I'm looking for suggestions for further reading / training / listening - there surely must be mountains of information on this topic?
Some specific scenarios that are coming up:
-- He met a senior manager at a recent event, who was definitely looking for services in the area, and the manager asked for his business card, but didn't provide his own. Not sure if this was deliberate or not. He now doesn't know whether to follow up... or how. As the potential client already has his details, does it look "desperate" or even creepy to now find out the client's contact details and call or email? And if he did, what would the content of the call be? I suggested just being direct ("enjoyed meeting you, we'd definitely be keen to offer our services" or even inviting the potential client for lunch, perhaps on the basis of "let me introduce you to [pick someone else in the firm who is relevant and good company]". Not sure if this is good advice or not!
-- His company is not doing very much marketing to key existing clients, and he would like to "up the ante" a bit with some events - however he has a pretty limited entertaining budget in his own right. What are some low-cost ways to make existing clients feel loved.
-- He is meeting a lot of relevant clients / potential clients / peers in a different city, which makes it more difficult to meet for coffee, lunch etc. What are some good techniques for winning people's confidence who are geographically distant?