You have numerous casual conversations with those in your network every week. Your network includes family, neighbors, friends, social groups, church, clubs, etc. Your sphere of influence is unique. How can you recognize opportunities for business and transition those casual chats into a business conversation?
Before you “freak out” and get some awful taste in your mouth about slimy salesy pitchmen, I am not talking about sales! I am not talking about selling like you are in the hottest new pyramid scheme. I am talking about discovering opportunity when it presents itself. The conversation should be organic, not contrived.
Here are a few tips for helping you discover business opportunity in your network of relationships.
I have sat in many trade show booths through the years. Inevitably, vendors of equipment and other service providers take advantage of the opportunity to come by the booth to try and sell something. Many are distributers of equipment used in our projects. Others are insurance providers or human resource consultants. Almost all are poor salesmen. Here are the most common traits of bad salesmen.
What is the client’s experience when working with you? Why has client experience risen to the top of the ladder as one of the most important marketing areas of focus for A/E/C firms? Because people are buying an experience as much as they are buying consulting engineering.
There are 37,274 coffee shops brands in the U.S. Some coffee is good, some not so good. The product varies. However, when you choose a coffee shop you are not just buying a cup of coffee. You are buying an experience. You may value the experience of convenience and efficiency. You may value the experience of a laidback hipster vibe playing indie music. Or you may value the experience of a delicious and consistent coffee flavor.
There are 37,274 coffee shops brands in the U.S. Some coffee is good, some not so good.
The best technical engineers are not always the engineers chosen for a project. This is because even project owners buy experience. And they do not all buy the same experience, similar to coffee drinkers who may buy convenience, vibe, or flavor.
So, the marketing goal is to learn what experiences our clients desire most and find ways to deliver that experience. To gather this information, we must ask. We must have regular conversations with our clients and learn to listen to their preferences. Some clients prefer regular interactions and quick responsiveness. Others prefer technical accuracy and detail. Still, others prefer delivery on time and within their budget.
We have several avenues of discovery for client experience data.
Gabe Lett, FSMPS, CPSM, LPC