As an organization, we’ve learned a few things over the years – it’s one of the perks of being in business for more than 80 years. We’ve learned that standing by our Core Values of Leadership, Integrity, Respect, Innovation and Continuous Improvement is critical to our success. As a result, we hire and retain people who share our values and apply them to the work we do every day.
Shared values are also critical to success with our clients. Sure, our clients select us through their procurement processes, but there is usually much more to the story. More often, we select our clients long before they select us. Here’s how …
- Know what ideal looks like
We’ve developed a profile of an ideal client and are disciplined in our application of that profile. Key attributes of our clients are that they are themselves successful organizations; they value integrity and respect; and they understand for a partnership to be successful, projects have to be mutually beneficial. We also understand that some projects are just too small to be viable and some are too big for who we are today.
- Learn, learn and learn some more
Through a thorough vetting process, we learn everything we can about our prospects, what’s important to them, how they operate, and how we can, or maybe can’t, provide a solution for them. We do everything we can to determine whether we can build a successful partnership with a prospect long before we ever ask for the business. Many more prospects wash out of our vetting process than survive it.
- Date before signing on the line
Finally, we know that if we allow a prospect to become a client they’re going to be with us for a very long time. So we date for a while before we tie the knot. Our subject matter experts get to know our prospects’ subject matter experts, we talk with others who have worked with them and we understand whether or not we’ll have the support of the entire organization if we decide to move forward. While love at first sight CAN happen, most find that dating for a time is an important part of the selection process.
Our client selection process has served us well by reducing the overall number of new clients we bring on board, dramatically improving the quality of those clients we do and assuring the success of the projects we’re working on with them.
Next time you’re selecting a partner, take notice of the effort from both sides of the table. Is it appropriately detailed and thorough? Do they seem to care enough to really get to know you?