How do you win more high value business? We help clients with high value work through hands-on support and business development training and coaching for individuals and teams

Client relationship scenarios described by senior practitioners in professional service firms

Renewing contact with old contacts

Q “I had a very good contact in one of our major supermarket clients but she left to move elsewhere about 2 years ago. I know I should have kept in touch but I was swamped with work at the time. I have just heard she has been promoted in her new organization (non client). How do I renew contact with her without it looking like crass marketing and bearing in mind my abject failure to keep in touch?”

A You have to try and get the relationship back to where it was 2 years ago – by reminding the client that you care about her business and that you have something of value to offer before you make any overt enquiries into work opportunities. It may be helpful initially to assess objectively the strength of your previous relationship – your initial approach will depend on that. You have the perfect opportunity to renew contact by congratulating her on her appointment – don’t delay on that – something personal eg a handwritten note, card, flowers, possibly an invite to meet a mutual contact to “catch up” i.e. no overt marketing but a genuine attempt to catch up and celebrate her promotion.

If you do meet or are able to talk to her on the phone (both infinitely preferable to email), be armed with another opportunity to keep in touch – eg an invite to an industry function, a meeting with a third party, non salesy but worthwhile for her. If she raises work opportunities right at the outset, - great - if not, continue to offer opportunities or information that will be of use to her in her new role. Try early on to establish with clarity what that new role is and that will help you to think of ways to help and support her.

When do you ask for work opportunities? When you feel you have earned the right to do so or perhaps a little bit before then.

NEXT: Asking for more work without appearing greedy or pushy