I. Businessman. (Part 19)
My learnings as a Businessman. (Part 19)
Through my career, I have been part of some of the biggest communication campaigns in the country.
Mention this to some of my current clients and a lot of them would shake their heads in in disbelief.
They would not be able to fathom the fact that the agency we run, is capable of doing stuff on such a large scale.
The issue? Positioning.
Learning No: 21
However accomplished you may be, you will be judged by the kind of work you work you do presently and the business you run today. The past does not matter.
So it is important to make sure you position yourself correctly in the mind of your client.
The first time you engage with a client, it is important that they are made aware of your capabilities.
While building a relationship a client or a customer will not initially engage with you for work that could be classified as high involvement, high cost or high risk. They would try you out in non-critical areas, before they contemplate giving you bigger and better work.
The risk of this process is the perpetuation of the image created through your first interaction.
When I started off, my approach was to enter a business relationship, through the ‘low hanging fruit’. Work that was not mission critical.
The idea was to stay in the client’s consideration set, engaging regularly, picking up work that was below what we were capable of, so that we could capitalize on the big opportunities when they arose.
This worked wonders to start off, because most work at this level is handled by smaller service providers, who had nowhere close to the experience or quality that we offered. So we shone through, and made a huge impact with our clients.
Along the way I realized that we were being branded as an organization that had a proven track record in handling smaller projects, but was virtually untested in larger projects.
As a result, the bigger work started ending up with large companies that had an image preceding their ability. Different matter that a majority of the people in these companies, were not capable of matching our knowledge, experience, standards of service or thinking, but the fact is we were branded as small time operators, and hence lost out on the ‘big ones’. It went against the very reason why we picked up the smaller projects.
This mistake in my approach took years to rectify. Changing an existing perception is more difficult than creating a new one.
It was baptism by fire and I learnt an important lesson… You should never compromise on the positioning of your company with the client. Even if it means losing out on some work initially, in the long run, the image is what will garner bigger revenues.
In a world where most customers and clients interact with hundreds of brands, organizations and service providers every day, they do not have the time or the inclination to do a back-check on your antecedents or past accomplishments. They judge you by what is in front of them, here, now.
The first impressions are the ones that last.
Make sure that you get yours right.
TO BE CONTINUED…
(This is part 19 of a series of blogs on my learnings as an entrepreneur )
Read Part 20 here