Look around at your business community. In your industry.... who has the top mind share? You or your competitors? If it is not your company, then you are leaving money on the table.
When someone hires a vendor they can only talk with two or three of the many choices they may have for lawyers, accountants, bankers, consultants, etc.... If you are not top of mind, you are not making all the short lists. If you are not on the short lists you have no shot at winning the contracts.
I recently talked to an insurance broker who said he hates nothing more than to hear a large company put their coverage out to bid and his firm was not in the mix of companies considered. It happens all the time.
Be honest. Are you in the top tier of those in your line of work? If the answer is "no", "not sure" or "it does not matter", then you need to read the rest of this article (If you said "yes"... then keep up the good work).
If you are the best kept secret in your industry you are losing money. I am often shocked at how proud some professionals are that they are not visible in their community. They like to brag about how they are stealth. Stealth misses the chance to bid on business. Do not allow the culture of your firm to honor those who hide out and do nothing to increase your opportunities.
Below are three things you can do to change your ways and increase your brand.
1. Make networking a priority. Some people have demonized what they think to be networking. They have misinterpreted that networking is a selfish activity, and thus take pride in not participating in the activities necessary to build a powerful brand. The definition of networking is "the creation of long-term and mutually-beneficial relationships between two or more parties where all involved achieve more because of the relationships than they would have without the connections". Networking is not a selfish act, but instead an act of serving others (note the worlds "mutually beneficial"). It about serving others. I argue that those who do not network might be the selfish ones.
2. Have a plan. Meeting people is only part of the equation. If you are not working on going beyond meeting people and purposefully creating a meaningful brand of excellence then you then you will end up with a lot of names in your database and little to show for it. Too many professionals who know they are coming up short of their potential in business to make any changes in their daily actions. They have no plans and leave their future up to chance while continuing to do things the same way they have in the past.
3. Integrate your visibility online and offline. We live in an internet age, but too many people still are not actively utilizing social media tools to their full potential. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and today's the first glance people get of you is online. Have you conducted Google Searches on your name, your company, and your industry? What comes up? Do you have a robust LinkedIn page? Does your company have a blog that is fresh and full of useful information? Visibility is not about having a advertisement in your church bulletin... it is about everything that impacts your clients, potential clients and referral sources (and that is a lot of stuff).
Now is a great time to work on creating a visibility blitz. September through December is the key time to put in the time and effort if you want to see different (aka: better) results in 2012. Do not over think and rationalize reasons not to take action.... jump in now with both feet.
Have A Great Day.