Your Clients Have Emotional Wish Lists — Find Out What Those Wishes Are, and Grant ThemNovember 29, 2018 | By Wayne O'Neill
Architect, engineer, contractor — whatever solution you offer to your clients, you’re competing with every other firm that offers that same functional skill set.
So how do you stand out?
How do you break out of the box and be seen as a solution partner?
You learn what’s on your clients’ emotional wish lists — the things that are not necessarily included in their capital improvement programs — and figure out how to grant some of those wishes for them.
And you do this by connecting the dots.
While we coach our clients on this process, we also do this for our own business here at RESET.
Today I’m going to share our own two-prong approach to connecting the dots, and then I’m going to break it down so you can see exactly how it all comes together to give us the inside track on our target clients.
Step 1: Attend National Conferences
Our whole team puts a big emphasis on going to many national conferences every year — but we do it a little bit differently than you might imagine. We don’t just stick with business development conferences, or even conferences within our target clients’ industries. We also look for niche conferences that talk about issues we know our clients care about.
A good example of this is the National Parking Conference. Parking is a major customer-engagement component for almost every institutional client. Higher education, healthcare and corporate organizations care about parking because it directly impacts their customers and employees.
Understanding what is going on with parking is important to our clients, so it’s important for us to know about too.
This year at the National Parking Conference we learned how ride-share apps like Uber and Lyft are affecting parking. We learned how Lime scooters and other new mobility options are impacting the parking situation. We even discovered how Amazon Lockers are influencing parking for our clients.
These are things that our competitors probably don’t know about, and they set us apart in our clients’ minds. And where else would we have learned about parking but at a parking conference?
Think beyond your industry and even your clients’ industries when considering what conferences to attend each year.
Step 2: Visit With Private Equity Firms
The second component of our two-pronged approach is visiting with private equity firms. We do this to understand what investors are thinking about.
Maybe we discover that investors aren’t interested in parking, per se, but they are interested in mobility. We know mobility is also connected to institutional clients — hospital and healthcare campuses, higher education institutions, and corporate properties are all impacted by what’s happening in the mobility space. Investors who care about this will be willing to write a check for the revenue that is connected to those assets and those institutions
Connecting the Dots
Finally, we connect the dots between what we’re hearing at conferences, what we’re hearing from investors, and what our clients care about — and we create solutions for our clients that solve the things we know are on their emotional wish-lists.
Imagine this: On the emotional wish list of one of your clients, you know there are innovation centers and research projects that can free up foundation dollars that are sitting idle — and one of those wish-list items is centered around mobility. If you show that client that there are sources of investment funds from private equity that can be leveraged through mobility, then you just created a series of projects that can help your client.
And more importantly, that client now sees you differently.
You are no longer in the box with all your competitors. You’re not just an architect or an engineer or a contractor — you are somebody who can facilitate a solution.
The Bottom Line
Think beyond your clients’ industries to the items on their emotional wish-lists — then connect the dots and create solutions to grant those wishes.
As you go into 2019, if you are trying to think about how to show up in unexpected places to connect the dots for your clients in this way, we’d love to show you a path to get that done.