There’s plenty of psychological research that indicates that individuals who can delay their gratification enjoy longer-range success. This is fine and good, but when it comes to selling and marketing, even in the supposedly rational business-to-business world, most of us want fast-acting solutions and responses.
You can see the implications here in this reference from The Mezannine Group’s B2B Marketing Blog:
This is lesson number nine from Lisa Shepherd’s new book on B2B marketing, The Radical Sales Shift. The lesson reveals a secret of success for marketing companies and marketing managers. How do you achieve success in your work with clients? It has less to do with quality of work or quantity of results than you’d think. In fact, success has everything to do with the short-term speed of activity.
The marketing managers interviewed in The Radical Sales Shift revealed that neither quantity of results or quality of work are the biggest indicators of a satisfied client. In fact, marketing companies and managers who work with and in business-to-business organizations are more likely to achieve success by producing tangible and visible accomplishments quickly. When they do this, they lay the groundwork for greater success down the road. If they don’t do it, they often don’t get the opportunity to deliver success down the road – because they’ve been told to hit the road.
The suggestion: When you first start meeting and doing business (or seek to do business with a potential new client), develop a strategy to deliver some meaningful value quickly, at least within the first 100 days. This is the opportunity to show you know your stuff and build the trust for longer-term results.
These observations lead to some interesting business challenges for anyone concerned with AEC marketing:
Can you accelerate your responsiveness beyond industry or market norms?
I expect the time required to prepare a quote for a basement renovation might be different than to respond to an RFP to build a commercial building. However, you have the normative expectations of response-time for communications or various types. Are there ways to speed up the process. (Conversely, I’m not sure if you gain much by rushing ahead of a pre-set fixed deadline for a public or even an invited bid opportunity, especiallyif you need to get pricing from trades and suppliers and also you need to ralize that seeming to rush things might indicate you are taking shortcuts.)
Certainly you can set rules for immediate or very fast responses to client inqurieis or requests.
In the early going, set up a short-term fast acting project where you know you can succeed.
Again this will vary depending on your potential client’s needs and your own expertise.
Act fast. If you can deliver instant gratification you’ll build the bases for the longer-term relationships you really want to achieve.