Generating Leads Through Partnerships & Networking

“Online platforms are great to inform and educate the prospective client, but face-to-face interaction is still necessary to build trust and guide the client through the buying process.”

The rise of digital marketing platforms has transformed the way we market our professional services firms. From strengthening your reputation through quality content to increasing digital visibility, online platforms have helped professional services firms to market themselves more effectively. There is however a danger in an over reliance on digital platforms.

To generate quality leads, firms still need to focus on face-to-face networking and forming of key partnerships as part of their growth strategy. You need a 360-degree approach that combines “new generation” technology, with “old school” platforms like networking, public speaking, face-to-face meetings, cold calls and seminars, in order to generate quality leads. The goal is maximum visibility and engagement. It is important to remember that we are selling services. The level of client buy-in is directly related to their level of trust and depth of relationship with a firm. Where online platforms are great to inform and educate the prospective client, face-to-face interaction is still necessary to build trust and guide the client through the buying process.How can professional services firms generate leads by combining online platforms with traditional tools like partnerships and networking? Here are a few tools that you can use to generate quality leads:

a. Webinars and seminars
Seminars are effective in demonstrating your expertise by sharing information that addresses a specific problem. A webinar is the online equivalent of a seminar or another educational event. The lead generating webinar is typically offered free of charge. Because it requires registration, you can collect basic information on a session’s attendees. As with seminars, a webinar should be educational, not just a flimsy sales pitch. The key to a successful webinar or seminar is to select topics that are of great interest and value to your ideal target client. Over time, attendees come to trust your firm and will be likely to consider you when they have a relevant need.

b. Speaking engagements
Speaking engagements should be networking platforms that focus on educating clients and prospects. If you know which markets you want to reach, you can research your local events, organisations, professional associations and other groups for any upcoming speaking opportunities. You can also connect with relevant industry events or conferences within your target market. The main goal is to expose yourself and your brand to new audiences and to position yourself as a visible expert. Over time, people start to trust your opinion and expertise, opening the door to attract new clients.

c. Networking events
The aim of networking events is to connect with your target market. This tried and tested marketing technique helps you increase your firm’s visibility and connections. Be prepared when you attend networking events by bringing related information, such as business cards, your service’s brochures and relevant contact information. Networking must be viewed as a strategic activity where you aim to give out information, but also gather information about potential clients. Done successfully, you can walk away from networking events with a valuable contact list. This list can be added to your newsletter mailing list, who will receive valuable content.

d. Partnerships
Partnering with influential individuals who consult with your target audience on high level issues can be a very effective way to connect with potential clients. These individuals are often asked for implementation advice and referrals, but don’t always have the capabilities to implement themselves. If they are connected to you and your firm, they are in a position to recommend your firm. Spend some time to identify them, establish a relationship and gain their respect. You can also consider partnering with an association on a special project. Do a research study, develop an educational program or write a book – but do it in partnership with an industry association or industry expert.

e. Offer a free analysis or consultation
By offering a free analysis or consultation to a potential client, you create an opportunity for a face-to-face meeting. You therefore create a personal platform to showcase your expertise, give the client a “taste” of what you can offer and establish a relationship that can benefit both of you – without the risk of financial loss.

For more information contact Tobie van der Merwe at

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.