OK, I don’t want to hear about the stock market or investing in stocks vs. mutual funds vs. bonds vs. money market accounts vs. just stashing cash under your mattress (which has its appeal from time to time).
You know what I’m getting at here.
We ask our customers to put their trust and confidence in us daily.
At least that’s what we should be doing. And we need to be earning that trust and confidence on a daily basis. And, news flash here, folks: if this isn’t your primary strategy in providing value to yourself, your customers and your company, then you need to rethink your engineering career path.
When you think of the business environment in which you work, constantly responding to the peaks and valleys of the global economy, you are the mainstay for providing consistent service quality delivery on behalf of your customers. Your customers are experiencing the same fluctuations in their business environment, having to dodge and parry in response to the curves the market is throwing at them.
They invest in you: as the physical embodiment of the value that your engineering, service or manufacturing company, or brand, represents. Now that’s a loaded sentence. And a big professional responsibility.
Keep this thought on your mental back-burner the next time you are working with your existing customers: every time they work with you, you must reinforce and reward their choice for contracting with your company. And these are not easy choices in this economy. With skepticism rampant and confidence going up and down with the markets, you’re a lighthouse for them on turbulent seas.
Whether you are a Boomer, Gen X or Gen Y, there are no fast-tracks to managing client relationships.
And these client relationships are basically like your own business-engineering portfolio. They are slow to win and need constant attention to develop. You can never assume a client relationship will be permanent or that either you or your company is a “given” for upcoming projects. Business acquisition and client relationship management are investments of your time as well as your client’s time as well as your company’s time. After all, your employer has invested in you as well, in terms of salary, benefits, materials, training, etc.. Yes, you are an important investment for your company, regardless of the current role you play in their organization. Providing a return on investment rewards your company for having chosen you as an employee.
Maximizing your growth potential within the parameters of your job allows you to provide value to yourself, your company and your organization.
As I’ve discussed before, coloring within the lines and simply “doing your job” and hiding in “cubicle mentality” is not sufficient. That’s the status-quo.
Increasing your value involves growing your areas of expertise within your organization, learning more about the dollars and cents of how your company operates, and determining whether your interests and skill sets allow you to enhance the value of non-technical work teams within your organization.
And, quite frankly, why wouldn’t you be interested in expanding your breadth and depth within your current organization? You can maximize what you bring to the table as well, which has positive ramifications for what you bring to your clients’ tables in return.
The next time you have a conversation with your clients – or are asked by the sales guys to participate in a business development discussion – think of yourself as an additional stock option that just has been added to the client acquisition portfolio.
With that being the case, how do you see your role? Will your perception change how you participate in these discussions? How do your actions translate into the investment clients make in your company… and in working with you?
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo and business- and revenue-producing collaboration and communication tools to small and mid-sized businesses and startups. She was named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers by Top Sales World 2013-16. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? focuses on technical / non-technical collaboration strategies and tools and is available on Amazon.