Friday, October 17, 2008

You know your reaching towards success when people start calling you...

Over the past few months my efforts in locating potential feature articles and advertisers for our papers has gotten a little easier. Maybe that is the wrong wording to use, but people seem to be calling me before I call them, which is a good sign.

When I first started working with the Construction News and Report Group back in March of 2007, i had to hit the pavement and make calls daily to generate modest results. Along the way though I realized that better results could be found by simply building relationships and getting out and meeting with the people I was and could do business with. I made some mistakes along the way of course but I learned fom these and adapted.

Thinsg I know that 90% of the time resulted in failure that I tried:

1) Not getting to know the customer before I asked for their business.

2) Making the conversation more about what I could do instead of what the customer needed.

3) Try to make a sale to everyone (Pounding a square block into a round hole).

So how did I come to that moment of realization? I ran into somebody I knew who was in the construction industry one day and had a normal get caught up type of conversation. At the end of it we naturally came to the conclusion that a business relationship made sense. My success in past roles in other companies was always dealing with existing clients and doing business development with people that knocked on my door, so inititially I took this job which involved new business development like the one of the guys from "Glengarry Glen Ross". I tried to sale people instead of building relationships, building the relationship now became the sale.

So what did I change, I went to associations meetings. I found out what was going on vs. waiting for them to send an update. I realized that I could not close every sale in a few meetings. I realized that some people needed more time, so I adjusted my schedule to fit them. Instead of lining up feature articles last minute Istarted lining them up months ahead of time.

Now do I get some sales in a first meeting with a client, yes because the customer has an immediate need. The rest of the time I am learning about what my customers may need, but always first getting to know them.

How are you going to get to know your customer today?

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