One of my clients discovered that one of his dream clients was considering a change. They are unhappy with the results they are getting from the 800-pound gorilla in the industry, and they are now open to looking for a company that will get them the results they need. When my client’s company’s name came up, the very senior executive said, “I haven’t heard from anyone there since January.”
The statement that no one had called on him for almost nine months wasn’t an offhand remark. It was an indictment. What he was saying is that if my client’s company wanted his business, they would have continued to call on him during the intervening months. Most of the time, the prospective client’s my client calls on let an RFP, so most salespeople don’t call on their prospects during the intervening years when they are locked into a contract. It’s interesting that the very C-Level executive doesn’t care about what’s customary. He thinks the people who want his business should be pursuing him.
Never Give Up
This story is a lesson for salespeople, especially as it pertains to the pursuit of their dream clients.
It isn’t enough to express a passing interest in your dream client or to occasionally check to see if their dormant dissatisfaction has developed enough that they are primed to move. It isn’t enough to call quarterly to check in, or to meet up with your dream client contacts at industry events. These small, infrequent touches, betray a self-interest, teaching your dream client that you only care about them when there is an opportunity for you to compete for their business.
Never Go Away
The truth of the matter is that the competition is occurring right now. The mindshare is being developed between the intervening periods where no salespeople are calling on the dream client because they know that they have a contract and relationships. The relationships that create opportunities develop over time, and relationships are something that can’t be easily developed when you are transactional.
If you are going to pursue your dream client, pursue them. Continually call, nurture, and meet with the contacts within your dream client’s company. If you are sporadic in your effort, you will be indicted for your lack of professional pursuit.