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Developing contacts

 
#1 Developing contacts
22/09/2009 09:55

Keen Bean

Hi there,

Currently I am an analyst at a boutique industry focused strategy consulting firm. Outside the office (i.e. in social gatherings), I am meeting senior executives from firms relevant to my industry sector, who sometimes hand me their business card after a chat.

Now here’s my problem, should I and could I attempt to develop business from these contacts?

I can fully appreciate that with me be so junior, firing off proposals and marketing materials would be inappropriate (and could possibly land me in trouble).

However, letting these business cards sit and gather dust on my desk is not doing much good either…..

The third option would be to hand the cards over to the partners…however, this could be seen to be obvious brownnosing.

I would be grateful for any advice / suggestions.

Regards,

Keen Bean

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#2 RE: Developing contacts
22/09/2009 11:23

Tom to Keen Bean (#1)

Bean,

Why exactly do you think they gave you the card in the first place?

- Maybe they want a date

- Maybe they want a job

- Maybe they actually want some help?

Etc.

Partners will want to be informed, but that doesn't necessarily mean your involvement ends there. Do they even know about your networking skills? Sounds like an opportunity to impress, get a foot on the ladder and show you bring value beyond the analysis. Show you are more than just a salary taker. Get them to take you to the meetings.

Ignore fear of being seen as a brown noser. If you are doing the right thing, who gives a sh!t.

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#3 RE: Developing contacts
22/09/2009 11:23

AlexanderMeerkat to Keen Bean (#1)

The fact that you are junior means you have the luxury of being able to develop a real relationship without having to force it into a business transaction.

I would maintain the relationships e.g. send the odd email if you come across a news article relevant to your discussion, their interests etc, meet up for a drink/ coffee now and again if you really get on with them etc etc Just having their business card means nothing - you have to build on it.

In 8 years time if you're still in consulting you will have a real relationship with them and they will think of you if they have any projects going.

On no account just pass over their details to a partner - if you are doing some marketing in a specific area relevant to the contact you might give them a call to see if they are interested but should continue to own the relationship.

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#4 RE: Developing contacts
22/09/2009 14:43

Cynic to AlexanderMeerkat (#3)

Yeah, if you pass their details on to a partner, the partner will hijack and destroy your relationship with the contact. They will hound them for business then bleed them of every last penny they have in their budget (and then some). Then, when the project fails (and even if it doesn't!), your contact will be a write-off from your perspective.

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