Chasing business leads: hot and cold

First of all, the bad news – If you are only now thinking about how to grow
your business in these difficult times, you are probably too late! Spending your
time planning for survival would be more fruitful.

In ‘boom’ times any Tom, Dick or Henrietta can thrive. Normally there is too
much business chasing not enough suppliers.

When times get tough, those who have steadily invested in building a solid
business come to the fore. In an uncertain environment the last thing customers
want is added uncertainty in using anything other than trusted suppliers.

Right from the start at Adler Shine we took the decision not to go chasing
‘cold leads’. Anyone who has done so will appreciate the time and investment
required to convert cold leads to warm leads, never mind actual business.

Consequently, any business only deciding that the current economic climate
(and the adverse impact that may have on their existing client base), demands
that they start aggressively seeking new business leads, have left it alarmingly

Clients actually become more resistant to ‘cold’ approaches as the business
environment becomes more challenging. So again, the focus on networking to
extend one’s area of influence becomes increasingly more important.

What we developed, many years ago, was a culture that ensured we exchanged
all relevant information that enables the ‘sales generators’ in our team to
follow up and nurture.

To ensure our pipeline is continually fuelled, each week the partners meet
for an informal lunch where leads, opportunities, connections and ideas can be
exchanged. To some, this approach was new and challenging. With experience,
especially hearing how colleagues identified potential leads and then witnessing
the success, every partner is contributing to our ‘warm lead’ pot.

Indeed the concept was then channelled down to our staff management team, who
have developed their instincts in recognising and passing on potential leads.

One of our largest obstacles was recognising that not everyone can convert an
opportunity into business. Having professional qualifications, it is easy to
fall into the belief that any intelligent person can sell.

We are extremely busy chasing the ‘hot’ leads we have established through our
strategic focus in our approach to leads, supported by our strong business

Jonathan Shine is senior partner at Adler Shine LLP

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