Are you fully committed to your clients?  Would you lie, die, or lose an eye for them?  Let’s face it; each and every client has measurable value to your organization.  But how do we find that perfect client?  What is the best approach to lead conversion?

No matter your industry, whether you provide a product or service, we are all dependent on a strong customer base.  Not every client is the right one for you however.  A robust client roster needs many aspects.  These aspects differ from one organization to another, but they all need to be dynamic needs.  There will never be a hard and fast client profile that you should be looking to fill.

It is often referred to as a vendor client relationship.  This could not be any more accurate.  Lead generation is easy.  Web searches, trade shows, referrals…  these all generate leads.  Being the smart entrepreneur that you are, you quickly realize that many of these are no more than junk leads, dead leads, or unqualified leads.

And so you embark on what I call phase one, Dating.  The dating scene is teeming with options.  Any of you who have been there know that many of these options are not worth pursuing.  This same mentality is applied to a new lead.  But, much like the dating scene, we tend to hang on to even our junk leads in a little black book, just in case desperation kicks in later down the road.  It is hard to be too choosy in phase one, as you never know who will provide that long term connection that you’re interested in.  Maybe, you’re not looking for long-term; you could be in search of the one-nighter!  You need to be prepared to explore any and all options.

Phase 2, the First Date.  So, you have found Mr. or Mrs. Right.  This is the time to put your best foot forward, and make that great first impression.  You wouldn’t show up to a first date with a potential suitor in sweatpants and a beer stained tank top, so leave that at home for the first client impression too.  This crucial step is all important because, as in a first date, this meeting will usually determine whether or not the courtship will begin.  And if it does, it will be remembered for years to come.  Just like talking to your parents about their first date, a long term client will usually have a story about the first encounter with preferred vendor.

Phase 3, the Courtship.  We like to think of the courtship at the first date played over and over again, for as long as it takes.  This is when the client will decide if your offerings are suitable for a long term commitment.  In this phase, there is little give and take.  Remember, you are trying to retain your new find, this comes at a price.  If you are one who has ‘The Customer Is Always Right’ mentality, this is the time to employ it!

Phase 4, the Marriage.  You have made it!  It’s clear sailing from here, right?  Don’t fool yourself!  I married my wife 10 years ago, and whether it is for a date once a month, or a week’s vacation we are still required to periodically get back into the courtship phase.  Your client has decided to commit to you long term.  This is the time that you truly enter into a give and take relationship.  You need your client, and your client needs you.  Just as with spouses, this relationship, if treated correctly,
will continue to serve you both for many years to come.  There will be good years and bad years.  Too many bad years do not always lead to divorce.  Instead, be prepared to enter back into the courtship phase to rekindle what had begun.