Episode: 364 |
Will Bachman:
21 Business Development Ideas:


Will Bachman

21 Business Development Ideas

Show Notes

As independent consultants, we often look for ways on how to grow our business. In today’s episode, you’ll find a round up of 21 business development ideas that can help build your business this year. You’ll also find all the relevant links to Unleashed episodes where we explore these items in more detail.

  1. Create a portfolio of sanitized work (Episode 121)
  2. Create a project list (Episode 140)
  3. Update your LinkedIn profile (Episode 211)
  4. Set up a CRM system (Episode 172)
  5. Make outbound calls (Episode 170)
  6. Email a past client (“Would love to hear about your plans for the year”)
  7. Reach out to clients where you LOST a proposal, just to check in
  8. Update your resume (Episode 253)
  9. Ditch the yahoo, Gmail, AOL and get a professional email address
  10. Start a podcast and invite potential clients as guests (Episode 10)
  11. Comment on LinkedIn posts by potential clients
  12. Post 3-5 times per week on LinkedIn on the topic you want to be known for (Episode 235)
  13. Organize a virtual event
  14. Create, or update, your website (Episode 59)
  15. Create a course teaching some skill that a potential client might be looking for* (“How to organize an Integration Management Office”)
  16. Update your email signature to include your phone number (on the computer AND phone)
  17. Create – or refine – your Fishing Line (Episode 1)
  18. Ask past clients for feedback
  19. Build relationships with other independent consultants serving your niche
  20. Read The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients by David A. Fields
  21. Contact me at and sign up for weekly podcasts: unleashed@umbrex.com

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

Will Bachman 00:01
Hey, welcome to Unleashed. I’m your host, Will Bachman. Consultants often reach out and ask me for some tips on how to generate project work. So I put together a list of 21 Business Development ideas for 2021. Here it goes:

Number one, create a portfolio of sanitized work. I talked about this in Episode 121. The idea is it’s far more powerful to show rather than tell. So if you can put together some sample pages that show some sanitized work from a project you’ve done, that can be much more powerful. If you can say, look, here is 10 pages from a commercial due diligence, it’s more powerful than just saying, Oh, yeah, I can do that kind of work. And if you can’t sanitize work, the clients won’t allow you to then look into just hiring yourself to do that work. by picking some topic, pick a company outside in and just do some due diligence on that company, without being hired to do so. And then you can share that wherever you like.

Number two, create a project list. So I talked about this in Episode 140. And I’ll include all these links to these other episodes in the show notes. So I’m creating a project list very valuable. One, just the exercise of creating the project list. So go back through all of your history, since you started consulting, both in consulting as well as if you’ve had any work to an industry, list all the projects you’ve done, the exercise of doing that will probably remind you of people that are worth reaching out to. So that’s valuable in itself just to remember projects you’ve forgotten, colleagues you’ve forgotten. Plus, creating a project list will help you in the future, when you get asked about your experience. And you’re asked to send a couple bullets on your experience for a particular topic, you can just go to your list, and copy and paste.

Number three, update your LinkedIn profile. And I talked about that in Episode 211.

Number four, set up a CRM system. So it’s very powerful if you can track all of the people that you’re talking to and the interactions you’ve had and schedule future interactions, plus any actual live opportunities, make sure that you’re tracking all of those and not dropping the ball. In Episode 172. I spoke with David A. Fields, and we spoke about his recommendation on how to set up a CRM system. We focused on pipe drive. And that’s the system that I use. And I follow the simple system that David suggests, and it’s been hugely important for my business.

Number five, make outbound calls. You got to remind people that you exist and one of the most powerful ways is just pick up the phone and call people. People are often reluctant do that, oh, I don’t want to you know, interrupt people. They try to schedule by email. But David a field suggests, just pick up the phone and call. And in Episode 170 of this show, we talk through with David, how he recommends you do those and he fact kind of walks us through a script of how to do those calls in a way that doesn’t feel kind of like you’re just selling right?

Number six, email a past client. So if you don’t want to call email a past client, just check in a we’d love to hear about your plans for the coming year. How did that last project go what’s new with you Just check in by email if you don’t feel like picking up the phone.

Number seven, reach out to clients where you lost a proposal. So just to check in, they’re probably one of your best fields have to go after, because you got close enough that they were actually considering you in the consideration set. Maybe they really liked your proposal, but went with the other person, maybe they were dissatisfied with the other person. So maybe they’ll go with you or maybe they have some new need that’s perfect for you. So, you’ve already established that relationship. They already got far enough along to consider your proposal. So, reach out to them and just check in and see how things are going.

Number eight, update your resume. Now maybe you’d say, “oh, well, you know, I don’t like to send out my resume,” but still a lot of clients like to see your resume and I see a lot of mistakes on even the resumes of pretty sophisticated people. In Episode 253. I talked about some of the common mistakes I see and provide some tips.

Number nine, get rid of your Yahoo or Gmail or AOL email address and get yourself a professional email address just comes across far more professional and it’s not that hardest, you can go to any domain registrar but pick your domain for your firm. You can go to GoDaddy or some other registrar register your domain, set up a G Suite. Gmail looks just like Gmail, but it’s it’s a branded with your email address. And the whole thing you could be done in less than an hour.

Number 10, start a podcast and invite potential clients as guests. In Episode 10 of this show, I was already recommending that you start your own podcast. So check out an episode 10. Like how and why to start one. Number 11 comment on LinkedIn posts by potential clients. So it’s a way to get noticed by those potential clients, if you’re commenting on their stuff. You know, from time to time, maybe not every single post, that’d be a little bit creepy, but time to time, and you’ll get noticed by their networks.

Number 12. Post three to five times per week on LinkedIn on some topic that you want to be known for. And I talked about this in Episode 235 with Mark Williams, who’s goes by Mr. LinkedIn, about how to post on LinkedIn in a way that’s going to engage people.

Number 13, organize a virtual event, you can start small, you don’t have to have some massive conference, you could you know, organize 345 business executives who have something interesting to say to one another doesn’t have to be you presenting content to them. But get together three to five people, perhaps who you know, are in a similar space, maybe all heads of supply chain has a data analytics has a distribution something and have a reason to talk to another and they’re not competitors, and get them talking and you sit back here what they say. And then you kind of know what’s on their mind. There’s all sorts of other kind of virtual events, you can you can organize, obviously, you could try just doing it. Just like I suggested, you can also look into organizing event on LinkedIn as a way to to get known.

Number 14, create or update your website. So we talked about that in Episode 59, where I interviewed Sabo, Neil. And so people I’d say 90% of potential clients will probably check your LinkedIn first before going to your website. But still, it’s nice to have a website doesn’t have to be incredibly fancy, you could start with a one page kind of Squarespace type of website that you can do yourself. And it can look pretty decent. If you do it in Squarespace, they have templates already just has a little bit about you about the services you provide about your background, how to contact you, it’s a start. And then you could also have a another tab on there. For any content that you’re creating, if you start creating content on a regular basis.

Number 15. Create a course teaching some skill that a potential client might be looking for, such as I’ve seen a lot of post merger integration projects recently. So if you created a course, on how to organize an integration management office, well, maybe even a client might find that. Or if you’re in discussions with a client, you can say, Well, yeah, not only do I know how to do that, but I I’m the one who created a course on how to do that. It adds credibility.

Number 16. Update your email signature to include your phone number. So that’s one of my pet peeves. So if you want to be contacted, you need to be contactable. So include your phone number in your email signature and both set it up both on your computer on the browser, but also on your phone and your signature so people can call you back. I’ve had lots of cases where I wanted to call one consultant, and I couldn’t find their phone number. So I went to consultant number two on the list. That happens quite a bit.

Number 17. Create or refine your fishing line. And I talked about this one in episode number one with David de fields, which remains one of my favorite episodes, where we talked about his book, The irresistible consultants guide to winning clients. There’s a chapter in there about the fishing line. So go check his book out. For more info on that.

Number 18. Go to past clients and ask them for feedback. You might say you might structure it as, hey, I’m going through a process. I’m working with a coach, let’s say and I’m collecting feedback from my past clients and would love to hear about, you know, how it went, how it could have been improved. What sort of impact that had, how might have I increase the impact. You know how to ask for feedback. And they may provide you some useful feedback and it’s a way to reengage with them. asking people for a favor And they’re more willing to help you out than if they give you a favor.

Number 19. Build relationships with other independent consultants serving your niche. So there’s a lot to be said for kind of just getting to know other people right in your space. The other consultants might need some leverage and want to bring you in on a project. Maybe in talking, maybe you realize that the two of you could collaborate and go, go pitch a client together, that your combined forces might be powerful. So And plus, you can just kind of get the what they’re seeing as emerging trends and what sort of clients are asking them for. So a lot to be said for collaborating?

Number 20. Okay, I just mentioned this book, but I’ll mention it again as its own, his own separate Tip Number 20 is read the irresistible consultants guide to winning clients by David A fields. And there’s a link to that in the show notes. I’ve given out a couple 100 copies of this book. It’s one of my favorite books on building your practice, highly recommended, and number 21.

Number 21, is fill in the blank, right? So part of business development will be coming up with your own ideas of how to get in front of clients, we can certainly come up with, you know, 20 more easily but number 20 one’s your idea. So thanks for listening to Unleashed.

This is your host, Will Bachmann if you want to get my weekly email where I list out all the recent episodes, and occasionally include some bonus material, then you can go to Umbrex.com, go to the unleashed tab and give it give us your email and we will include you on that list. So thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next time.

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