Welcome to the inaugural edition of the
File," published by Friedman & Partners (Wayland,
MA), marketing and management consultants to the
A/E/C and environmental consulting industries.
We know your time is precious and limited, so we've
designed this electronic newsletter to be a quick read
containing advice, tips, and resources to enhance
your success as an A/E/C industry leader. Thanks for
your time, and we
welcome your feedback, questions, and ideas for
future content (508-276-1101;
All the best,
Rich Friedman, President
Friedman & Partners
Involving Your Staff in the Business Development Process
Exposing your technical staff to effective business
development (BD) strategies and tactics is a sure-fire
way to maximize your business development ROI
(return-on-investment) — and get ideas about
who might be part of the "next generation." As a
business developer, your careful thought, planning,
and in many cases, training is critical to inculcating
client relationship skills to all of your staff.
What is your firm's view on how your technical staff
can contribute to the BD process? Too often, the
model business developer that is held out for
everyone to see is the sales person who has just
landed the "large carcass" after a round of golf
— on which the firm feeds for the next six
months. If your firm does this, you are missing the
important contributions of PMs and project staff who
continue to please clients and have demonstrated
the ability to identify, nurture, and convert additional
Firms that succeed at developing successful
business developers encourage company-wide
contribution to/participation in business
development activities. They identify a variety of ways
in which staff can contribute — ways that are
suited to an individual's personality, skills, and
comfort level. Here are several ways to get your
technical staff started in good habits:
- Make staff members responsible for keeping
existing clients happy.
- Ask your staff to create an organizational
relationship with clients. Get them to seek out
other buyers/influencers within a client organization.
In this way, you can ensure that if a key person
leaves the client firm (or your firm) the relationship
can by continued by other people.
- Get your staff to look out for market intelligence
and make sure they pass along what they learn.
- Have your staff participate in a technical
- Ask staff members to represent your firm in key
associations to which your clients may also belong.
- Have staff present a paper at a conference
attended by clients/prospects.
- Ask staff members to attend a breakfast with three
past clients each quarter.
- Encourage informal communication with clients
(e.g., congratulatory personal notes).
- Conduct a debrief (using open-ended questions!)
at the conclusion of a project.
- Invite current/past/prospective clients to speak to
- Have a staff member interview a client/prospect
for your company newsletter.
- Ask staff to forward an article of interest to a client
- See if staff members can tap affinity groups (e.g.,
Alma Mater, church) to identify
influencers/decision-makers in a prospective client
- Get your staff training/mentoring in key
communications skill areas such as public speaking
and handling a dissatisfied client.
You can only maximize your ROI by establishing
accountability among your staff for the activities in
which they are suited to engage. Firm principals and
other leaders must work with other staff to develop
customized goals suited to one's skills. Make these
goals specific, quantifiable, and measurable
— and tie them to the review process. Assess
progress through a candid discussion of
impediments and development needs at least twice
per year. Lastly, recognize and reward results and
success stories through internal communication
vehicles (e.g., company meetings and newsletters)
and other means.
Attention PSMA and SMPS members
Achieving and Sustaining Firm Growth: the
A/E/C Industry's Premier Tightrope Act
20 July, 2007 — Rich Friedman will be
presenting this workshop at the upcoming
SMPS/PSMA National Conference in Washington,
D.C. August 22–25. Rich's workshop is on
August 23rd from 3:30–5:00 p.m. For more
information or to register, visit www.smps.org.
2008 A/E Advisors Annual CEO Forums
A/E Advisors will be hosting two CEO Forums in 2008
— one exclusively for large-firm CEOs (March
5–7) and one for CEOs of smaller firms of 150
or fewer employees (March 3–5). Please mark
your calendar and stay tuned for more information (or