The Intrinsic Value of Your Network

lesterMel Lester of The Business Edge recently wrote a great post on the intrinsic value of your network on his E-Quip Blog. Here is a small sampling of what he had to say:

 “So now when I’m helping my clients improve their business development process or providing sales training or speaking at a conference on the subject, I always stress the importance of networking. But not just as a sales tactic. I encourage people to get serious about networking for the intrinsic value of those relationships alone. Bottom line: Make friends, take care of them, and you’ll reap the rewards, both personally and professionally, for years.

This is not just advice for old guys or rainmakers or managers. It’s sound advice for everyone. I urge young professionals to develop the habit of building and nurturing their network now so hopefully they won’t struggle with it as much later as I do. It takes time and discipline. You must make it an immutable priority.”

“…networking should be the centerpiece of your business development strategy, whether the economy is weak or strong.”

I couldn’t agree more, thanks for the great post Mel!

Getting Feedback from Clients

In his E-Quipblog this week Mel Lester provides some great thoughts on client feedback that are well worth reading. In addition to his insights he provides a great sample, “Client Service Assessment” that you can download from his site. Two of his points that I found especially insightful regarding a new client feedback program were: ‘Start with your best clients’ and ‘Communicate client feedback.’

  • Start with your best clients. The best way to generate momentum for this process is to start with those clients who have a mutual interest in strengthening the working relationship. Pick an easily manageable number of clients to start, where you’re confident you can be fully responsive to whatever feedback you receive. Then expand to other clients when you’re ready.
  • Communicate client feedback to the staff. Everyone in your firm should be engaged in continually improving service and striving to deliver the branded experience. Feedback from clients is the fuel that keeps the fires of continuous improvement burning. Give all employees a stake in helping your firm become a service leader. Share feedback, lessons learned, and success stories.

Build Success by Creating Value

It seems that almost every day I get an e-mail or note telling me about a new blog. Tracking several of these blogs I have found that often, after a sort time, the writer begins to realize that it takes a massive amount of time to regularly write compelling blogs. A common result of this realization is that the posts begin to slow and eventually the blog fades away.

Then, every once in awhile, I run across a new blog that inspires and opens my mind to new ideas.  These are the blogs that seem to begin filling a niche almost overnight.  On my blogroll you will find several such blogs that have lasted the test of time including Ford Harding’s blog and Mark Buckshon’s Construction Marketing Ideas blog. I’m going to step out on a limb and say that I believe I recently found another such blog, Mel Lester’s E-Quip blog.

Yesterday I tracked Mel Lester to his Business Edge website to find more about an obviously well known consultant, trainer, and coach.  What I found was probably the most common reason that people succeed: Mel has created value for anyone that visits his website through his articles page. Let me encourage you to visit Mel’s Business Edge website to view his articles page as the resources there provide great insight into a number of business topics from Strategic Planning to Productivity.

Principles of Service-Centered Selling

Mel Lester’s recent posting on his E-Quip Blog is a great reminder of the importance of relationships in the sales process.  Here is a brief look at his posting Uncomfortable With Sales? You Should Be:

Principles of Service-Centered Selling
“Service-Centered Selling is the application of service excellence to the way we develop new business for our companies. Remember, great service happens in the context of a strong relationship with the client. Selling is essentially how we initiate that relationship. It’s courtship. Naturally the way we start the relationship sets the tone for how it will develop. If we want the client to value the service difference we offer, we should begin demonstrating it during the sales process. That difference likely then becomes the key factor in our being selected for the work.”

Note that how you begin the relationship “sets the tone” for how you will be viewed throughout not just this contract, but also future work.  Are you the “low cost” fix, or the “high quality” solution?  Take a moment to reflect about how your sales process sets the tone for your business, are you laying the foundation to achieve your business goals, or are you just getting another job in the door?

Please note that E-Quip has been added to my blogroll.  Thank you Mel, I look forward to reading more great posts!