A few years ago, GGG was engaged in the restructuring of a multi-billion dollar company that had relationships with numerous and varied businesses and firms throughout the country. While focused on the client’s interest, I took this opportunity to make some excellent connections and solidify existing ones with professionals in a multitude of industries – even though we were most often on opposite sides of the table. I worked with many bankruptcy attorneys, private equity professionals and business leaders, developing excellent working relationships towards the restructuring of this company.
It’s important to recognize current business as opportunities for new business. Not only does this prepare you for the future but it motivates you to work harder on the current case.
Regardless of your profession or industry, look at each meeting, conference and project as a marketing opportunity. After all, you are good at what you do, and you want others to know this.
It’s not often in my profession that I get new business from existing or past clients because of the nature of the turnaround industry. However, more than half my future business comes from those with whom I’ve worked during a case, whose interests at the time are not those of my client. That is, many times I am hired for future situations by those who sat on the other side of the negotiations table. Even though we were on opposite sides of the situation, those who ultimately hire me one day appreciated the professionalism with which I carried myself, the thought process I used to resolve the case and the outcome I achieved for my side.
Subsequent to the case at hand, they have other clients who they want me to represent. Next time they see me in the courtroom or at the negotiations table, they want me to sit on their side. That is why I always stay fair to the other side in a business case and communicate clearly. Make it your duty to do the same. People appreciate knowledge, professional conduct and sound business ethics, and they like solving problems quickly and efficiently.
Mutual respect is the goal for long-term marketing in business. Always be honest and forthcoming – you don’t have to be the nice guy in a tough business deal, but having professional respect for your negotiating partners and gaining their respect is the recipe for growing your referral sources.
Some of my long term, twenty-year referral sources come from these situations in which I gave oppositional professionals’ clients a hair cut, but who later wanted to work with me.
Remember, you’re always marketing.
What are your primary sources of referrals? How do you cultivate those?