Just recently my technical team won a project with a company I’d been chasing for close to three years. Three years of calls that were sometimes returned and sometimes not returned. Meetings that were purely informational and not purpose driven and a whole lot of “Why do I keep calling this guy?” type thoughts running through my head.
I found I was asking myself “why did we finally win?” The answer was pretty simple. Trust. We had spent three years building a trust bridge with my contact. My calls and emails were not invasive, nor were they demanding. They were simply calls aimed at finding out what his needs were at the time. See, it’s not about me, it’s about him! For three years, he didn’t need anything strongly enough to bring us in. But when he was ready, when he had something in our technical wheelhouse, he didn’t hesitate to call.
Once he had something he knew he wanted us to be in on, it took less than 8 weeks to close the deal. Sure, we knew we had to knock his socks off with the technical portion of the project, but we had spent three years showing him that we are thorough, that we follow through, that we don’t push, and that we are here when he needs us, but it’s ok if he doesn’t need us right now.
With every meeting I book and every project I uncover for my team, the key to a successful partnership always comes back to trust. Have we built up enough trust, for them to feel that no matter what the issue is, they want us to come in and do the job? Have they seen enough of who we are as a company, and not just what we can do for them right now, to move forward with us?
Anyone can hire someone for a project when they are in a pinch, but if they don’t trust you, they will never bring you back for that second project. We are now working on four separate projects for this company simply because those genuine soft touch base inquiries built trust and gave them a snapshot of who we are as a company.
If you are having trouble ‘getting the sale’ my advice is simple, make it about them, not about you. Follow up as many times as you need to. If they are not giving you a NO, follow up, and follow up some more. Build the trust that is necessary for them to see that you will be there when they need you to be there.
Remember, it’s not you, it’s them. If they don’t need you right now, that’s ok. Stop focusing on the sale, and instead take the time to build the trust. Once you have done what you needed to do in order to build trust, they won’t hesitate to give you a shot at the title!
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