Tips on beginning to sell and build external relationships for new directors?

Freshly minted Director here. While good at execution, I don’t really have of network of clients that I could sell to at the moment. I have a strong internal network, but not sure how to get started establishing a book of business (or preparing myself too).

I am 30 so I generally feel a disconnect due to age with the sponsorship / executive groups.

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1. Don’t think of it as selling. Think of it as developing relationships.
2. Relationships and trust take time to develop. Be consistent, patient, honest, and authentic.
3. Don’t focus on just the executives. Focus on your peer group who have/will have recommending powers and will become buyers and executives down the road.
4. Don’t focus just externally. The power of our firms are in the relationships our firms have, not you as an individual. Get to know the gate keepers to the accounts.
5. Accept that not everyone will like you or jive with you. Find your people.


Very helpful across all points, thank you!

1. Do not think of it as selling. Think of it as developing and maintaining relationships. Selling projects is a byproduct of those relationships.
2. Treat the relationship development like it’s your job. It is. Make a plan and give yourself deliverables and deadlines.
3. Your internal relationships are just as important (if not more important) than external relationships with potential clients. In general, the number of projects you will win from other partners bringing you in will greatly outnumber the clients you went out to source yourself.
4. This is a team sport. You will rarely go into a pitch alone and you can’t deliver the project alone.
5. Do not lose focus on a high quality of execution. That is the product you are “selling”. Doing great work also gets you referrals.
6. Learn from partners that do it well. You’re not supposed to figure it out on your own.


MD1, thank you for the detailed answer!

How are the people you went to school with, worked with previously who left the firm, etc. doing? As you grow in your career, so do they. And you already have a relationship with them that isn’t based on sell sell sell.


Haha true :)

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Never happened to me, but they’ve been great referral sources.


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