Tools and Resources
“Select your clients as carefully as they select you.”
Step 1: Define desirable client characteristics.
What makes a good client? What would make you want to work with them again? What would make you NOT want to work with them again? List the characteristics, then weight them.
1. Identify Who to Focus on First
Don’t try to work with everyone all at once. Focus your energies on a small group who can help you create a “tipping point” or “ripple effect” that touches and changes the rest of the organization.
Winning that on-call contract is typically not a guarantee of work. It is a license to win work. Now you have to “mine” the opportunities. Waiting for the phone to ring is not enough. Here are some steps that will help you maximize the value of that contract and your relationship with your client. Success requires that you execute a rigorous marketing plan just like for any competitive selection.
If you provide or market A/E services, you’ve heard it many times: “When the RFP comes out, you’re too late”. Firms that position their team months in advance, win most of the time. So, how do they find out about coming projects before the RFPs are published?
The cycle is endemic in our business. You’ve all seen it. Your backlog is light, so you turn your attention to that great marketing plan you created and what happens? You start to win work and good things happen. The world is looking pretty bright again. But then, you get busy and that great marketing that got you there starts to slide from the top of your list to “maybe tomorrow”. You are “too busy to market”. Then, all too soon, you look up from your desk and see that you are running out of work and the future looks scary. And the cycle repeats… Again…
After a recent national conference, I was talking with a young engineer over a beer. “OK”, she said, “this is my first national conference. I met a lot of new contacts. Now what do I with all these cards?” What a great question. When I attend a conference, I usually have a plan of specific contacts I intend to make, each with a specific objective. But what about all those contacts that just happen naturally when a group of professionals gets together?