In a previous blog, I focused on how important it is to “know your client” by doing broad business-related research into their worlds so you are able to expand your conversational comfort zone, engage more fully with your client, add more value, and drive scalable growth for your firm.
Here, I’d like to take the concept of research as an essential arm of business development one step further to emphasize how important it is to “know your firm.” Having a strong working knowledge of your firm’s capabilities and services, BEYOND your practice, will help expand your relationship comfort zone, and enable you as the non-selling professional to be more attuned to what is happening around you.
Too often, service professionals miss opportunities to drive incremental revenue for their firms–opportunities that could have added more value, strengthened relationships and created deeper client loyalty—because they weren’t able to connect the dots that were before them. They didn’t completely understand the other services of their firm, and thus didn’t think to mention these capabilities to clients.
“KNOW THY FIRM” MEANS THAT YOU ARE ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY REPRESENT A BROADER PICTURE OF YOUR FIRM’S OFFERINGS AND AREAS OF EXPERTISE WHEN THE NEED ARISES.
You will know:
- Your employer’s primary service offerings and/or products
- The firm’s industry specialties, key differentiators
- Understand your firm’s market position and areas of impact
So that you can:
- Comfortably share examples of the work and products your firm has successfully completed and their value to the client.
- Have the ability to “position” your firm to existing clients by simply growing in your understanding of the business and talking about the work your firm does.
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- First, visit your firm’s website. Your marketing department or the internal system that houses your firm’s knowledge base will also provide company and practice area information at varying levels of detail.
- Be a “tourist in your own town” and learn what you can about your firm, as if you were learning about it for the first time. Start with a broad knowledge base and drill down as time permits.
- Think about known gaps in your understanding of the business and ask colleagues in those business units to enlighten you.
NOTE: You DO NOT have to become an expert in all the capabilities of your firm; at least have a high-level working knowledge of the depth and breadth of offerings!
Celebrate your new-found confidence!
1. Think about how you feel entering into a dialogues better prepared.
2. As a more confident person, you will be more willing to entertain broader conversations that, by default, will add more value AND will enable you to identify areas where your firm can address immediate needs.
3. You will separate yourself from your competition and bring more to the table.