With all of the stuff I’ve been writing recently about the importance of campaigning, it’s easy to forget that there’s a hard-edge to it all. The edge is that it’s about building and maintaining your network over time. But like all advice, unless you trust the source of that advice, I’m simply a stranger asking you to belive that it’s true and worth doing. I don’t expect you to believe campaigning will work for you, you have to try it out for yourself, build your own experience of it and find your own truth in there.
Trying something out builds your experience and that experience gives you the confidence to know what activities will pay off in the long-term, if you keep on keeping on. The less experienced of us will tend to expect instant results from our first attempt at something new, and drop the whole thing when we don’t get offered a million-pound contract in the sun inside the first three weeks of trying. In campaigning for new business it’s the long-term over the instant fix that wins every time.
Even for the most experienced of us though, there’s a time when our experience and belief can waver. Our mischevious mind can begin to open up to the possibility that maybe this time… I’m really screwed. But then what happens? A client rings out of the blue and says something like “I was thinking about you today when I was talking to a colleague… I seem to remember that this is right up your street… Could you send me some information that I can pass on?”
Just this week I had two long established clients/friends contact me after months and years of silence. It’s fantastic when it happens isn’t it? To know that they’re thinking of you is a fantastic boost at just the right time. My experience then tells me that- If you’ve got a strong network of clients; if they like you, trust you and they know what you do, you’ll be OK in the long-term. Remove any one of those things and you might have to wait a little longer for the ‘phone to ring.