A successful professional once confided that she enjoys the prospecting process as much as actually doing the work. I saw her point. New business acquisition requires strong interpersonal skills, an excellent service or product and just plain good timing – sometimes seasoned with a pinch of luck. I love prospecting, as well. It is easier for some professionals than for others but everyone loves welcoming a new client.
It may be the culmination of months of building a prospect’s trust, or having your proposal chosen over many others by a large committee whose members you have never met. Sometimes it can simply be a referral that gets you the business after just one phone call or meeting.
However you get there, the stakes are high over the life of a lengthy and potentially lucrative contract, or what I call ‘tester’ assignments that grow to become big ones.
Whether your new client is a sole proprietor with 10 employees or a large enterprise with 10,000 employees, there is one constant that will determine your success. It rests on your ability to remain the person they thought you were when they entrusted you in the beginning with their business success. Your business relationship will grow on a good foundation as long as you consistently deliver on the promises you made to win the business.
In spite of occurrences you cannot control, such as economic ups and downs and legislative changes that affect your clients’ industry and business model, there are things you can do to make sure things remain steady.
Here are seven tips aimed at creating value for clients as well as for your business.
Laying the foundation: Signing the contract
1. Spend sufficient time with the client to understand their top business goals. Be clear about how you can tailor your services to help meet and exceed the client’s unique goals. This will build confidence from the start.