Client relationship development

Forget about new business development

Every meeting I attend I learn something new. It’s a mantra for me because I believe in lifelong learning. For me it adds to my knowledge, my emotional well-being (I continue to grow) and it makes me more valuable to others that I work with.

John Coleman in his article Lifelong Learning Is Good for Your Health, Your Wallet, and Your Social Life for Harvard Business Review said:

“The reasons to continue learning are many, and the weight of the evidence would indicate that lifelong learning isn’t simply an economic imperative but a social, emotional, and physical one as well.”

And with that thought in mind I want to share with you my latest learning.

Last week I met with one of the regular studios where I am their Chairman. Part of my role is to help the studio develop new directions.

In this case there is a need to get more new business through the door. Yep a universal problem. To do this there has to be someone taking responsibility for new business dev. Unfortunately many designers hate that role. I try to make it easier using my approach to client relationships with Linkedin for designers workshop. However in the lengthy discussion that surrounded new business dev one of the owners said he hated doing it. The discussion then focused on ways to make the process easier.

The conclusion was.

Don’t do any more new business development.

Do more client relationship development.

Banish the word new business development and think of it as client relationship development.

How do you start a relationship with a client? The same as any relationship. You woo them. You talk lots about what they do. You empathise with the issues they have and you tell them your story and how you can work with them to benefit their business.

That is new business development but in this new way of thinking we now call it client relationship development.

That’s what clients want

Coincidentally this fits with the thinking that came out in our recent UNseminar on What clients think. All three clients said they wanted a relationship with the designer. They weren’t just looking for a supplier; they wanted someone they could trust to understand their business and work with them.

Want more?

If you would like to gain from my experience hit me up for a coffee and we can chat.

Got a question?

Want to share your point of view? Please feel free to email me.


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Greg Branson


Contact Greg Branson if you would like to learn more about the many programs the DBC offers.

Greg’s passion is the research and development of methods that improve design management and the role of design in business.

Greg has developed The Design Business School to help owners manage their business better along with showing designers how to get more involved in the studio and develop their career path. Contact Greg.

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