Before you reach out to potential business contacts, be very clear and focused as to the type of contact you are making. There are two ways to think about acquiring new clients and new business. You can start from a transactional approach or a more strategic, consultative approach. This distinction is important.
A transactional approach is centered on acquiring a single or even a few orders for your product or service. As with most businesses, orders are how you get paid; the client places an order, you deliver it, and you send an invoice. Depending on your product or service, a transactional relationship may be sufficient. The downside is that when you interact at the transactional level, you are perceived as having only transactional value. If this is satisfactory for you, your have successfully achieved your goal. This will help you to get some orders or consulting, but it will not help you to get the majority of the aspect of their business that you represent.
When your approach is strategic and consultative, instead of focusing on orders you focus on developing deep, trusted relationships. You focus on understanding your clients’ needs so deeply, and creating so much value around those strategic needs, that instead of acquiring sporadic orders, you acquire all of your client’s orders. Acquiring the client relationship is what opens up the possibility of getting all of their orders or contracts for services, although it takes longer and is a more difficult outcome to obtain.
Client acquisition and order acquisition are different. Order acquisition is transactional. It’s about taking orders, and that puts you in a contest for price. If the transaction is what matters, then the value being created is only a low-level of value.
If you are instead focused on client acquisition, you have the opportunity to dig deeper and find additional ways to create real value. A more strategic level of value. You get an opportunity to design a solution that solves a bigger, more future oriented challenges. This not only earns you the right to acquire all of the orders or services in your specialty, it earns you the right to do so at a higher margin. You are earning that higher margin by delivering greater value.
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