Architects, lawyers, engineers, accountants and consultants: I am betting that you didn't get into the professional services field because you have a natural affinity for sales. It is more likely that the mere thought of selling makes your stomach turn a bit and as a result, you probably make very little time for it.
After all, there simply aren't enough hours in the day to do it all and business development often gets relegated to the back burner, executed inconsistently at best. If your desire is for your firm to consistently grow, despite the inbound leads that might fall your way unpredictably in any given month, you must change your business development philosophy.
Start with changing your mindset. You were put on this earth to do what you do, and no one does it better. You authentically improve the lives of everyone who hires you, and you are doing a disservice to those you don't tell about your capabilities. If you can't get right with this, you may want to hire a dedicated rainmaker or perhaps consider another profession.
Next, accept that business development will likely never be a task you are chomping at the bit to tackle and map out an ideal workday with that reality in mind. Business development can no longer be an "as I can find the time" activity. Your mind is hardwired to fill your time with tasks better suited for your natural skills.
You must have the discipline to go against the grain. Make business development your first priority every day, letting no excuse override it. Block it out on your calendar (at least 30 minutes) and tell your team this time is sacred. Set specific activity metrics (e.g., will reach two prospects by phone) for that time block and don't stop until you have achieved those goals. The adrenaline rush for that early victory will carry you throughout the day, and likely allow you to accomplish everything you would have had planned for the day otherwise.
Leverage other members of your team. An assistant or more junior member of your team could research prospects, develop communication templates and track your activity. Leverage a CRM (customer relationship management) tool to stay organized.
Use your limited time wisely, by focusing on activities with the highest likelihood of producing for you. Tap existing happy customers for referrals, asking them to make the initial introduction. Once you are able to connect with a referred prospect, use a low-key approach authentic to your communication style. Simply cite the pain you have been able to solve for similar clients and suggest that you spend a few moments exploring whether that type of result might be possible for your prospect.
Find more advice at www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).