This LinkedIn posting: Big Idea 2014: Stop Selling (and Start Marketing) by Tim Williams is worthy reading for anyone wondering how to escape the trap of diminishing return for energy in finding and retaining architectural, engineering and construction clients. Williams concludes:
The late British adman Paul Arden advocated that you should “Give away everything you know, and more will come back to you.” This is an incredibly effective marketing approach for professional services firms, but it absolutely hinges on one thing: having a clear positioning strategy.
So as you wrestle with the question of how to attract more business in 2014, muster the courage to stop selling and instead do a better job of marketing, starting with a commitment to focus on what you do best. Remember, what professional services firms ultimately sell is expertise. You can be an expert in something, but you can’t be an expert in everything.
In other words, the advice here is to focus and differentiate, and then do everything you can to share your knowledge and expertise with speaking engagements, white papers, contributed articles, a great website (and SEO) and other marketing basics. You need to be seen as a contributor and leader, not a pushy “taker” or intruder. But you can’t achieve this status by trying to be all things to all people (unless your geographical service area is extremely small.)
Think focus; then think generosity, combine this focus and generosity with some solid marketing technique, and you will not need to worry so much about business development.