How to Transition from “Prospect” to “Client”
Building relationships one conversation at a time
The most common question that I am asked when it comes to building professional relationships is how do I successfully engage a prospect while earning enough trust to move forward? I have put together a few thoughts around how to accomplish this.
- Respect the process. One of the most important (and time-saving) efforts would be to ensure you are in front of the right target audience. Getting there can be a challenge. A common misstep is treating the gatekeeper as an obstacle. The gatekeeper, scheduler or office manager is oftentimes the only one who can clear the path forward for a successful connection. If you resonate well enough, they might actually provide you with even more direct ways to make an outreach to your targeted prospect. Build a relationship with the gatekeeper. You need them to achieve success.
- Use email sparingly, if at all. Email is becoming an increasingly ineffective way to communicate. Want a quick way to get a “no”? Send an email. Although convenient, there is no emotion, no bond, no sense of developing trust within an email. You cannot build sustainable relationships with email. What you can build is an easy out. Someone (within a few keystrokes) can end the hard work you have spent prospecting. I have yet to build a single relationship over written communication. If you want transactional, one-off sales, send emails. If you want strategic relationships with valued partnerships, make phone calls and site visits – frequently.
- Talk to the right people. It’s important that you understand who makes buying decisions. From influencers to decision makers, ideally you are building relationships with both. The greater amount of engagement you have at the plant/site level, and more the frequently you have ongoing dialogue, the greater your chances are of being looked upon as a partner not just a vendor. As with all relationships, this takes time to build. Trust, open communication, transparency, accountability – all these attributes are necessary to build a healthy partnership.
- Continuously engage. Having a kick-off meeting or planning discussion and calling it a success not enough these days. If you are not talking to your customers on a continuous basis, I assure you that someone else is. All sectors of business (not just engineering) are becoming increasingly competitive.
At Matrix Technologies, we pride ourselves on growing our “Customers to Clients.” We promise to be on time and on budget. It is why we enjoy an 87 percent customer retention rate. It is why we see a high level of referral business. Client satisfaction is our primary objective. Follow-up and follow-through are of the highest importance to us.
Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America. To learn more about our manufacturing operations management capabilities and manufacturing process control solutions, contact Joe Wright, Client Relationship Manager for more information.