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What Does It Take to Start a Relationship?

There are 7 things that must happen.

2/11/2022 | Paul Kiewiet, Pursuit of Purpose

In order for prospective customers to buy from you, there are seven things that must happen. In their book for consultants, How Clients Buy, authors Tom McMakin and Dave Fletcher describe these preconditions for getting prospects to become clients.

First of all, they have to be aware that you exist. Seems pretty obvious, doesn't it? How are you going to do that? Your marketing plan needs to define how you will drive awareness with those who you want to grow business together. It needs to fit your skills but may require you push your comfort level. It could be community involvement, networking groups, social media expertise or a host of awareness strategies that you choose to pursue.

They need to understand what you do and how you are different. I believe both elements must be there. Unless you have some way to stand out and deliver a unique message that clearly defines what you do and how you do it.

There has to be interest in what you are offering. This goes directly to something that is critical. What problem can you solve for them? You must be relevant to their needs. You need to be able to be a no-brainer around the question - "What's in it for me?" 

You need credibility. You should be able to demonstrate that you have solved problems for others, that you are respected in your chosen profession. They need to believe that you can do what you say you can do. This is where industry certification comes into play. Those letters behind your name shows a commitment to going the extra mile, to learning more, to staying up-to-date, to wanting to be the best.

Trust. They must trust that you have their best interests at heart. You build that trust by consistent, competent delivery on your promises. You build that trust through transparency and being completely straight with them. You become trustworthy by putting them and their interests ahead of everything - even your own profit if need be. 

Your prospect needs to have a couple of attributes as well. They must have the ability to buy from you. Sounds pretty basic but how many of us have spent time, resources and efforts building a relationship with someone who did not have sufficient authority to spend the money, didn't have the budget or the place in the organization to make our proposal happen. Here's the rule — Never accept a "NO" from someone who does not have the ability to say "YES".

They also must be ready to act. The time must be right for them to say yes to your proposal now. 

Look for these seven attributes and work on all of them so that you can turn prospects into customers and customers into raving fans.

Paul Kiewiet MAS+ is an industry speaker, writer, consultant and coach. He serves as the executive director of MiPPA. Kiewiet was inducted into the PPAI Hall of Fame and the MiPPA Hall of Fame. He served as Chairman of PPAI in 2007. A former distributor, he founded Promotion Concepts, Inc in 1982 and worked with some of America’s most valuable brands including Coca-Cola, Kelloggs, and Whirlpool.
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