1) Be personable whilst building the relationship
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, people buy from people. Being open and honest from the start can keep you in good stead for the long-term future of the relationship. People really appreciate you remembering what they’ve previously said about themselves, their children, their holidays, that they were ill and had to postpone the meeting, those things go a long way. Let them know how you are, what you’ve been doing, don’t fake it, really tell them, let them in a little and they will typically return the favour.
2) Truly listen to their needs
If the prospect tells you that they don’t want to speak to you for three months, don’t speak to them for three months, it’s as simple as that. Truly listen to what they need and when they need it. No one wants to be pestered about something that’s relatively low on their agenda but equally, people really appreciate it when you listen to them and do exactly what they say. It shows that later on down the line they can work with you and that you’ll listen, take note and execute effectively.
3) Have an objective every time you speak
When you speak to someone multiple times make sure that every single time you have an objective going in. Use new information to hook them back in, so you’re not just saying the same old ‘let’s have a catch-up’ line, but rather you’re furthering the conversation. This will get you back on their radar, whilst you can get on with mining for more intel and trying to hit your objective.
4) Use a CRM that works for you
Make sure you have your operations down to a tee. It’s important that when you’re taking notes, you write down every single thing they say. Even the most trivial of points can strengthen your relationship later on. You might be able to relay it back to them through different points of your correspondence which makes them feel secure and lets them know you understand the importance of what they say.
5) Understand their yearly planning cycle
This is key in securing new work. They aren’t going to give out work when you want them to. They will allocate most of their budget at a certain point in the year, their chosen allotted time. They’ll have a speculative stage, a planning stage and an allocation stage. You need to make sure that you are speaking to them in the right way, at the right time. This only comes with a huge amount of research, insight and a sprinkling of some of your magic charm.