Developing new business

Top tips for new business conversations

  • Understand what your clients want and need – be able to explain how your offer will meet their needs and in language that they will understand!
  • Before talking to a potential client do your background research about them – demonstrate you are interested in them and their particular circumstances.
  • Have some examples to hand about what you have done that might be relevant – testimonials and case studies might be helpful; be able to talk about the impact you have had through other work. Be prepared to talk about money! Often clients will have a budget in mind and/or budget constraints and knowing this will help you pitch an affordable offer.
  • Understand their timescales for delivery – it is important to be realistic about what you can offer and by when, whilst still meeting their needs.
  • Do not worry if you cannot meet all of their needs yourself – remember there is a wide range of expertise within the University and with potential external partners so at this stage focus on understanding what they want. Arrange a follow up conversation once you have gathered more information and ideas.
  • Talk to Our Team if you would like further advice or support.

Building success

Happy clients are often your best advocates - ‘word of mouth’ is one of the most successful methods of promotion to secure future clients.

Build a good client relationship

  • Actively think about how you will build relationships with your client and turn customers into fans!
  •  Deliver projects to meet the expectations of clients as far as possible - be proactive about talking to clients when there are project delivery issues, and be responsive and flexible wherever possible in your project delivery.
  •  Check in with the client regularly to ensure they are happy with progress.
  •  Make sure you talk to your client when your project is completed to get feedback – this may be an opportunity to ask for testimonials but it may also be a valuable learning process for your next KE project!
Three people at a stand at a conference

Raise your profile

This can help win new clients and ensure you receive recognition for your work and successes:

  • Showcase your project with a joint public speaking opportunity at an event or conference
  • Attend an exhibition or event to target potential new contacts and talk about your projects and outcomes. The University supports Venturefest and Business in Oxford, but there may be others more relevant to your field
  • Write an article for a relevant professional magazine or write a paper to raise your profile within your academic community
  • Use social media to showcase your success amongst your networks and contacts
  • Create a news story for the University or Faculty website or for the local papers
  • Create a written case study for the University Business and Employers’ website
  • Write an article for Staff Communications Hub to showcase your success internally.
  • Read our Marketing guide in Support and Resources
Somebody speaking at a conference