In last week’s article, Your Client Contact Left Your Biggest Account. Now What? I suggested four immediate steps to take if your key contact suddenly goes missing:
- Act quickly to identify the successor
- Be prepared to sell your services all over again
- Begin building a relationship with the successor
- Find the person who left
While these are necessary actions to take, there are a number of proactive steps you ought to take to secure the relationship before that ever happens.
Build Relationships with Others in the Company
Try to get introduced to your contact’s superior. Keep in mind that this isn’t always plausible. That person may be the CEO who sees no value in meeting you. At the very least, get the name and title of whomever your contact reports to, just in case.
If you do manage to get an introduction, consider how to stay on that person’s radar without becoming annoying. We’re talking Content Marketing 101. What type of information would such a person find valuable that you could share?
Connect with Key Employees on LinkedIn
The beauty of today’s connected world is that you can completely circumvent the previous step and connect with key company personnel on LinkedIn.
Once you do, you’ll want to engage with them to build relationships—again, without being annoying.
Attend Their Events
Larger companies often hold community events or charity fund-raisers. If the company hosts any type of public event, be sure to attend.
You can also rub elbows with the company’s executives at Chamber of Commerce meetings or local networking events. Just ask your contact what organizations they belong to.
Have a Secret Weapon
What can you do to build a reputation within the company? I was fortunate to have a wife who makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. On holidays, she’d bake several dozen and deliver them to our key clients. Believe me, by the end of the day, everyone in the building who’d had a cookie (or five) knew our name.
Make It Hard for Them to Stop Doing Business with You
I’m not suggesting you use unethical business practices to hold your client hostage. Rather, how can you provide such exceptional value and make it so easy to do business with you that the pain of leaving far outweighs the benefits of staying?
I wish I could promise that by following my steps, you won’t get the boot if your contact leaves. But doing nothing practically guarantees it. So be proactive! Plan ahead and anticipate problems before they occur—rather than reacting to them after the fact. You business will grow as a result. That much I can promise.
Former owner and partner of web firm Jenesis Technologies, John is currently Director of Digital Strategy at Haines Local Search, a company providing local search marketing solutions to SMBs, including print and Internet Yellow Pages, web design, and local SEO. When not working or spending time with his family, John offers great sales and marketing advice on his blog, Small Business Marketing Sucks. When not working or spending time with his family, John offers great sales and marketing advice on his blog, Small Business Marketing Sucks.