Strategic Business Development PlanI have a friend named Ron Friedman (actual name).

He makes me angry.

He’s the type of guy who does stuff and you think, “Wait. How did he do that?!”

Case in point, a little more than a year ago, he wrote an article titled, “Nine Productivity Tips from People Who Write About Productivity” in Harvard Business Review.

That’s not what makes me angry.

We are communicators so we know how to place stories—and contributed content—in targeted publications.

Here is what makes me angry.

At the very end of the article is this line:

To watch the interviews highlighted in this article, visit The Peak Work Performance Summit and register.

Which links directly to his productivity summit.

Where, you know, people can register for said summit.

Which means he now has email addresses…

…of the people who visit from the freaking Harvard Business Review.

A Results-driven Business Development Plan

I’m only joking that he makes me angry.

Truly, I am in awe and proud that he has proven our business development process correct.

But it’s not easy.

Not every publication will include a link back to your website, let alone to something you’re selling.

You have to build the relationship and create lots of goodwill.

It takes time—sometimes years—to get to Ron’s level of success.

This is a process many of you learned in The Modern Blogging Masterclass.

It’s a similar process we’ll be teaching in our free five-day bootcamp, The Content Secret to Closing More Clients.

Ron took a column he already has in Harvard Business Review.

He spent time—lots and lots and lots of time—cultivating that relationship by providing really valuable content for free.

And, when the time came, they allowed him to link to his productivity summit.

This, my friends, is a strategic and results-driven business development program.

Through and through.

It’s strategic because he worked the relationship, he provided tons of value, and he waited until the time was right to ask for something in return.

It’s results-driven because he knows how many people visited and registered for his productivity summit, directly from that article.

Now he has those people in his sales funnel and can track conversions.

He knows exactly how much a lead from Harvard Business Review is worth to his business.

Isn’t that something you’d like to be able to do for yourself, or for your clients?

A Good Portion of You Rely on Referrals

In the 2017 State of the Independent PR Pro Industry Report, we found 42 percent of you do not have a strategic business development plan because you don’t have time.

You rely on referrals and word-of-mouth.

Which is great—and we all grow our businesses with some of that.

But it’s not a scalable or sustainable business development plan.

And, really, the “I don’t have time” excuse is just that…an excuse.

(Tough love!)

We make time for the things that are a priority.

So when I see that 42 percent of you don’t have a business development plan because you don’t have time, I read it as, “I haven’t made business development a priority.”

Maybe you hate business development.

Perhaps you have more than enough to do and don’t need to worry about a plan right now.

Or perhaps it’s that you have no idea where to start.

If you truly need to figure out how to make the time so it becomes a priority, you need to attend Ron’s productivity summit.

(I mean, Dan Pink and Susan Cain are speaking so it has to be good.)

How to Create Your Own Business Development Plan

But if it’s that you have no idea where to start, we can help.

In the past five years, we have been perfecting our own business development plan that doesn’t require me to go schmooze all over the country.

(I hate to schmooze…introvert!)

It drives tons of qualified leads, just from the tip of my fingers.

And I would much rather those kinds of leads than standing at a networking event, nursing my drink, hoping I won’t get cornered by the Type OO person (output only).

The way Ron enticed Harvard Business Review readers to click on his link and register for his productivity seminar is exactly this process.

Think about how you can do this for yourself.

It will drive inbound leads.

It won’t feel like business development.

And you will close more clients.

What do you think?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich