In the pursuit of decision-makers, you may be harming your consulting firm’s long-term growth prospects.
The leader staring back at you from the mirror today looks older than they used to. Fortunately, laugh lines and crows’ feet accompany some advantages.
Your years of experience suggest to prospects, clients and your team that you are an experienced, credible provider of solutions, value and restaurant recommendations.
Plus, with each passing year, your longstanding relationships include increasingly senior executives who control increasingly large budgets. The type of people who can hire your consulting firm.
You and any other rainmakers in your firm focus on building connections with decision-makers.
Rightly so. A1 relationships produce the majority of your consulting firm’s revenue.
As I have pointed out elsewhere, your primary intent with A2 relationships is to have them introduce you to decision-makers.
The best level-2 contacts are influencers who consistently introduce you to a lot of decision-makers… then offer you cookies.*
However, there is a downside to focusing all your networking efforts on meeting then nurturing decision-makers.
We’ve seen consulting firms, including sizeable boutiques, tumble down a steep revenue slope when the rainmakers’ A1 contacts start retiring.
Retired executives transform swiftly from A1s to A3s. Great relationships that are irrelevant.
As you enjoy your well-earned maturity, take care to nurture relationships with younger, junior executives who are likely to become decision-makers in the future.
Otherwise, you could be facing sharp revenue declines and frustration when you had hoped your firm would be running on autopilot.
Every year, identify a handful of promising, young executives with whom you will deliberately cultivate relationships as if they were already decision-makers. Build and execute a relationship plan for them.
Treat junior staff at your clients well; with the same respect and attention you shower on senior staff. (Of course, this is always a good practice.)
Encourage your up-and-coming consultants to foster relationships with their peers in addition to client personnel who are senior to them.
How else do you ensure you’re building relationships that will support your firm in 10-15 years?
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.