Once we feel we have enough research to begin a sensible and useful conversation with a potential client, we seek to connect with them.
We don't do mass marketing. No glossy mailshots, no spam, no cold calling. That is not the way to find your soulmate and begin a good relationship. We believe in a personal, tailored approach.
However, we also don't expect to ring a client, or drop them an email, and immediately start a relationship and get handed some work.
In reality, good lasting relationships are nurtured over time, and we cover that in the next step of the recipe. In this step it's simply about making that first small connection. That can be different for different potential clients.
The key things to consider are:
You're communicating with the people who represent the organisation, not the organisation itself.
You will communicate with them as a person, representing us — not as a company. Don't be corporate, just be human.
There is zero expectation of a 'sale', just establishing some small initial connection.
Seek to be useful and interesting.
Don't pretend to be anything you or Convivio are not. We call this putting on a 'telephone voice'. Just be yourself representing us the way we are.
Steps To Take
Move the new client opportunity card into the Connecting column on the New Clients pipeline screen in Contactually.
Create ideas for ways to connect. Involve others if necessary. See below for some inspiration.
Try them out.
If the person doesn't want to connect consider whether to move the new client opportunity card back to Research to do more work on it in future, or to mark it as lost.
Is there anyone we know who could introduce us?
Is there an event we could attend to get a chance to meet them in person first?
Are we organising or sponsoring an event we could invite them to, to meet in person?
If there's something specific that could be useful or interesting to them, invite them for coffee.
Drop them a simple short email with something useful and a brief explanation of who you are and why you thought they'd be interested.
Phone out of the blue. It's disrespectful of people's time and planning.
Try to be wacky to get their attention.
Sometimes we'll be contacted by a potential new client. In that case the steps are:
Enter the contact details for the people into Contactually.
Create a card for the new client opportunity in the new client pipeline in Contactually.
If the client approaches us out of the blue with an RFP or other procurement process already rolling then we need to: 1. Establish a personal relationship with one of their key contacts, not just the procurement staff. Set up an in-person meeting, or a call at the very least.
Explain our processes and principles, and highlight areas where theirs might not fit. Discuss alternative approaches.
If the client won't consider this then they are probably not a good match for us, and we should consider declining.
Once we have an initial connection, it's time to move on to Nurturing the relationship.