Picture this: you’re going on a first date tonight. You’re a little nervous, and you’ve picked are re-picked an outfit just about twenty times. You’ve talked a bit with your date before tonight, and it’s left you with a generous amount of hope. As you walk into the restaurant, you’re a little nervous, but you’re far more concentrated on keeping your cool and not tripping over your own two feet. You lock eyes amid busy waiters and waitresses, waltz over to the table, taking your seat across a brilliant smile. However, the evening quickly takes a nosedive. Past the initial pleasantries, your date begins delving into topics much too serious for a first date: wedding catering, mortgage rates, even baby names for your children. As you can imagine, any chance of a second date is dead in the water.
Slow and steady wins the race. Much like you don’t sprint a marathon or bring up baby names on a first date, prospecting is invaluable to finding your business’ pace in wooing clients. Prospecting can be difficult and expensive, but the payoff is incomparable. You will never get desired clients to buy into the vision of your tribe if you don’t take the time to “date” them first. And if you rush into things too quickly, you may show yourself to be too presumptuous or scare them off before a beautiful partnership can be planted.
If you haven’t read anything from Donald Miller, now is the time. Many of his books reflect upon the finesse of shaping business relationships. Much like any other partnership, business relationships require selflessness and intentional pursuit. If organizations want to be truly successful in their business relationships, they must no longer view themselves as the hero. Once the client, donor, or first-time guest makes the transition into the role of hero, the organization is in a better position to guide instead of absorbing.
For example, putting a donate button on the home page and expecting a donation is not a big enough effort on the organization’s part. It’s about as cheap of an attempt to court as prostitution. It’s a stark contrast, but it comes from the same root. Shortcuts may make a journey quicker to travel, but if you are traveling that road alone, it’s pretty pointless. Likewise, the client must be motivated and taken on the journey of the business’ vision. Otherwise, the organization will be traveling a very lonely road.
Where do you find yourself on your business’ journey? Are you traveling with a close pack of clients or are you on your own wandering aimlessly? Take time to look at your pursuit strategies with your clients. Are there areas where you could pursue your clients more intentionally or be more attentive? Reflect upon past wins, client testimonials, and investigate which areas need to be fine-tuned or switched up entirely. And above all, lean into God as the ultimate Guide who directs your steps, and trust Him as He leads you in leading others.