Author Profile Picture

Heather Townsend

The Excedia Group


Read more from Heather Townsend

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Complacency with your relationships? Is this decimating your supply of new business?


Oh, that's just Stephen he said.

Just Stephen?

Well, he's more of a mate really, and it just so happens that he refers me and I refer him.

He was also my client's second best referrer. 

This is one of the business development problems that I see happen in many firms - whether they are perfectly formed one person businesses or large global professional service firms. It's not just the partners who get complacent about their most important relationships, it's pretty much all fee earners. Regardless of whether the introducer or client is a good mate, they still need to be treated with the respect and appreciation that goes with being one of the firm's or your best referrers.

You could blame this on the speed at which we do business in today's hyper-connected world. I think that this probably has got something to do with it. After all, it is far too easy to get into the habit of collecting contacts on LinkedIn and Twitter, rather than remembering to systematically nurture your relationships; particularly when the relationship is so strong that you consider them more as a mate than an 'introducer', 'contact', 'connection' or 'intermediary'.

Time is something that most of us don't have in abundance. Most of us, whether we are an independent training professional or coach, or fee earner in a professional services firm, are under immense levels of pressure to not just service the work but also bring in the work. It's far easier to get work from people who know and rate us, rather than strengthening new relationships. So, why do we so often get complacent with our best relationships?

Of course, when a relationship gets very strong, it seems almost overkill to use a relationship plan to keep the relationship focused. (Click here to download a free relationship plan templateBut, if this relationship is one of your best relationships, surely a relationship plan is essential to make sure that you both helping each other out, without leaving any stone unturned?

It doesn't matter whether the relationship is mutual - i.e. you both give referrals to each other. There needs to be a process or system in place where you systematically thank each other for passing business. What are you putting on the firm's CRM system? How are you strengthening the relationship across the firm, not just concentrated on one individual?

Whilst the friendship may be strong, doesn't mean to say that you can take the incoming referrals for granted. Unless you are regularly letting the other person know how much you value the work they pass your way, you are at risk of losing these referrals.

Who do you need to get in touch with and maybe say thank you to today?

Author Credit

Heather Townsend helps professionals become the Go-To-Expert. She is the author of the  award winning and best-selling book on business networking, the ‘FT Guide To Business Networking’ and the co-author of ‘How to make partner and still have a life’. Over the last decade she has worked with over 300 partners; coached, trained and mentored over 1000 professionals at every level of the UK's most ambitious professional practices.

Heather blogs regularly at Partnership Potential, How to make partner and Joined Up Networking

Author Profile Picture
Heather Townsend


Read more from Heather Townsend

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!