As featured on LinkedIn, June 1, 2022.
What is it that holds women back from developing new business? A glass ceiling? No, a wood office door.
During the last few decades, generally those in heels were not the first ones invited to a new business pitch. Men were in the majority when it came to dealing with clients and choosing teams for new business pitches. For the most part, it was a different world and time with fewer women role models.
So today when it comes time to pitch, which gender is more likely to have had access to rainmaking experience and seasoned role models?
Why does this matter? BD ability:
- provides freedom to build the type of practice you desire
- gives you a greater likelihood of becoming a leader within the firm
- is money in the bank if you want (or need) to try a new career path
In the beehive that was the provider-client community, women were usually not in the equation. If you’ve never seen someone play chess, it’s hard to become a chess champ overnight.
Slowly, metrics are changing. As I work with more women leaders to solve a marketing problem at their firm, develop a training program or coach an individual, I’ve seen some patterns. Here are some take-aways I’ve learned along the way
- Grow your network one by one. Treat the people you already know, exceptionally well and at the same time, think about the people who you want to know. Who is influential within your industry or practice? Do you know someone who can make an introduction, or can you send them a note via social media or IRL to let them know why you would like to meet them?
- Keep an eye on your brand profile, not just the LinkedIn version but through your firm’s bio, your various speaking engagements, and what you write. In many ways, an entrepreneurial mindset can be a good motivator. View yourself as a business and consider what benefits you bring to your clients. Make sure those benefits are reflected in your activities and how you promote yourself.
- Connect with other women, but don’t forget the men. While there are great women’s networks – both informal and formal – and they can certainly provide you with important contacts and role modeling, don’t forget that men can be great advocates as well. Some of my most meaningful mentors and mentees have been men. Mentors come in all shapes, sizes and hues.
- Convince your firm to offer programs directed at helping women and other minorities within your firm to succeed. I don’t think the necessary skill sets are different for various groups of professionals, but I do think individuals have their own predisposition to doing marketing in a way that’s authentic and works for them.
Traditionally, many of us have been exposed to fewer opportunities based on gender, race and other factors. Let’s even out the playing field, open our own doors, and make sure that all of us have the skills necessary to master our own destiny.