Our goal should be to get our most important clients and prospects addicted to our ideas.
Every day, each of us competes for the scarce professional time and attention of our internal and external clients and prospects. We know three things about this competition:
When we’re not engaged with them, someone else is;
If our engagement becomes too infrequent, we’re in danger of being marginalized or virtually forgotten; and
Severely time constrained, clients and prospects must have a reason to engage with us beyond liking us and enjoying our company.
So, how do we earn active, frequent, sustainable engagement? With the relevance, power and impact of your ideas.
Look at how you manage the same challenge in your own professional life. Who earns your time and attention with greatest frequency? (Set aside time allocations dictated by power relationships, e.g., authority-based demands by superiors, or contractually obligated demands by clients.)
I’ll wager that your elective time goes most often to those who have the greatest positive impact on your success, i.e., those who offer the greatest return on investment of this scarce resource.
How do they tend to produce this impact for you? (Once again, set aside the value delivered by those with whom you have a structural relationship that requires them to offload specific tasks from your plate.) I think you’ll find that those who reliably bring relevant and creative ideas get the lion’s share.
To qualify yourself as a generator of relevant, high-impact ideas, become familiar with your client’s business and job. Then, start giving away the Idea Drug and get ‘em hooked on talking with you.