Expansion as Lead Generation

Happy Sunday, folks!

Lead Generation Learnings

The best place to generate new leads might be within existing client relationships. This is otherwise known as account expansion. While technically different from lead generation, it accomplishes a similar-enough goal: more business — though in some cases at the risk of creating or exacerbating a client concentration problem.

Why might you not already be doing this?

  • The status quo of a client relationship can construct invisible “retaining walls” around a scope that could otherwise easily enlarge.

  • A comfort with existing relationships or a fear of stepping on toes can create a hesitancy to explore expansion opportunities within an existing client.

  • A recent gaffe that you think more serious than a client does can create a perpetual “well, now’s not a good time for that discussion” syndrome.

Here are a few ideas about how to start this kind of discussion with a client:

  • Is there anything outside of our current scope that you would like our help with?

  • I noticed X, and I wonder if that’s a problem for you/your team/your customers. If so, I’ve got some ideas about how to address it.

  • (For a past client) I’ve been thinking about you, and since we worked together I’ve had a few ideas about X. Could we set up a brief meeting to see if they warrant further investigation?

If you think these need to be more artfully worded than what I’ve presented, I disagree. It’s hard to improve on a simple, clear, blunt statement of intent or desire when your statement has your client’s best interest at heart. Alan Weiss’s “Million Dollar Referrals” book has a good section on this topic, with more ideas, ways to recognize expansion opportunity, and suggested wording.

(Hat tip to Alex for putting the spotlight on this topic for me recently.)

Last Week’s For-Fun Poll

The question was: Do you meticulously route the cables at your desk?

🟨🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️ Let 'em lie wherever they want to (9)

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 Make halfhearted effort at routing them neatly (11)

🟨🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️ The cables go exactly where I say they go, when I say they go, and how I say they go, and any cable that does't like it can find another job! (9)

29 Votes

Comments were left by a few:

  • “I have a hole in my desk at the back of the monitor which directs cables towards the plug sockets. Does that count as halfhearted?”

  • “All the cables on my desk are behind my monitors, so they’re always out of the way. No special ninjutsu there, I just route everything on the back edge of my desk.”

  • “I try to make them orderly, but somehow they don’t bend to my liking or are just the wrong length - or, more annoying, when I switch between laptops with the ridiculous differences in where ports are and what they do - they just don’t stay as neat as I would like. I haven’t given up, but I’m now less pedantic about it as I used to be. ”

I fall in the “The cables go exactly where I say they go, when I say they go, and how I say they go, and any cable that does't like it can find another job!” camp, but I can say that the satisfaction of getting the cables behaving properly is only a short-lived satisfaction, similar to eating the entire Creme Brulee donut at Veeras when half of the monstrosity would have been plenty.

This week’s For-Fun Poll

I hope something nice happens to you this week,