This past weekend we were out at the farm again...
We have a good family friend who lives about 20 miles away and we love to visit as often as she'll let us.
We've known her for less than a year, but it feels like we've known each other forever. We loved visiting with her husband as well. Until he passed away last month.
So now, she has days she loves to see us, but other days she needs them to be by herself. Or to spend time with her long-time friends who have come to visit and support her.
Of course, we understand she needs that. But it doesn't change the fact we want to be there by her side whenever we can to help her however she needs it.
And of course we realize, we need her, too. To get away from the city and into the country does something special for our family. So we have to use self-restraint to keep from becoming pests...
Waiting to be invited, or having a good excuse to visit.
More on care, protection, and guidance
In a recent article, we talked about caring for your prospects like you would your own child. Offering care, protection, and guidance.
I hope you see how my family's relationship with our friend has direct parallels. With how you should handle your relationship with your prospects.
Here's an example...
In our office, like a lot of architectural offices, we have an interior finish library. A LOT of carpet and tile sample books on shelves. We only have one interior designer in our office. But his samples take up an entire wall of shelves as well as another wall in the computer server room.
I've noticed something over the years as an architect. The floor finishes vendors are a lot more attentive and present than any of the other building product vendors.
Why is that?
It's because they have a good excuse to stop by. They have a spot on our wall of shelves. And they need to stop by to update the sample catalog.
And while they're in the office, they bring treats. Or they invite a few folks out to lunch.
As a matter of fact, the other day, one of our most seen vendors stopped into the office with another great reason.
An interior design emergency
One of our other offices (3 hours away) had some interior finish emergency come up on a project. I didn't catch the details, but it sounded like it was due to an out-of-date sample book.
Big deal, right?
Well, it can be when you've based an entire project's color scheme on a certain finish. Got client approvals on everything. Only to find a color is no longer available late in the building phase.
This requires the design team to pull together a new color board to get client approvals. Then getting re-submittals on all the finishes again. And hope for short lead times on all the affected finishes.
Anyway, this vendor came in to talk it through with our local interior designer to make sure it was resolved to our firm's satisfaction. And he made sure our sample books were updated.
Now, this vendor seems to have a special place in our firm's history. I don't know him personally, but he knows the other guys in the office. He goes to church with one of them. He frequents the same hangouts as another one.
He's even taken a leadership role in our local AIA chapter's Allied membership. If you're not familiar, some AIA chapters have a membership level for architectural product and service providers. In Iowa, it's called AIA-Allied. And it gives these vendors many opportunities to sponsor, visit and connect with architects.
If you haven't already, check to see if your area AIA chapter has something similar.
The bottom line is you need to find good excuses to be present.
You might not be able to be this present at every firm in your region. But you'll surely find some resonance with at least a handful of them.
Take those relationships; cultivate them and grow them.
Until next time...
Make it a great marketing day!