Three Ways to Engage Potential Clients

November 30, 2009

I was sitting in a living room with the San Francisco contingent of the global consulting community I belong to. Nine people had turned up to welcome me to town, each one of them an expert in their own right.  I was doing an informal presentation on my latest engagement strategy, creating a surge.  I made the observation that many of the people I mentor send out a great deal of promotional materials, but don’t use them to create interactions: conversations and meetings.  They asked me to elaborate.

Here’s the deal: getting clients is built on interaction unless you’re delivering a commodity, a highly competitive and sought-after product like natural gas, coca-cola, or corn.  If you’re providing a service of any kind, your primary edge – that is, the tool you have at your disposal to win business – is you. And before you are well known and trusted, the only way people are going to suss you out is by interacting with you.

So, every email, every blog post, every mailing should be leading your potential clients toward an interaction that is robust enough that they can make a determination about the quality of what you provide. If you’re not headed towards an interaction of some kind, you’re wasting your time. Here are the three types of interaction to go for, in order of the positive impact they can have on your success, from least to most powerful:

1. Correspondence

With a modicum of trust a great deal can be accomplished through the back-and-forth of email. If someone knows who you are, this can do everything that needs to be done. If they don’t, correspondence falls horribly short. Don’t depend on email with strangers; move them to one of the next two.

2. Voice-to-voice

A telephone conversation is a great place to meet someone you will work with at a distance. Because of the premium on face time, it is highly leveraged and the most popular. Every email you send should lead to this when someone is truly interested. Many interactions will stop here because it is truly adequate when trust is assured.

3. Face-to-face

To this day and forever forward, sharing air is the highest leverage, most powerful way to meet another person. For all your highest priorities engagements it is a must.  It is a fantastic way to generate real trust in short order. This could be a workshop, a luncheon or coffee, or a business meeting.

One comment

  1. I liked this.

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