Starting from when I was a young kid, able to comprehend the use of English, my mother made me understand that the common practice was to hustle while you wait, in preparation for opportunity to come knocking on your door. Well, I’ve come a long way since then and I’m not entirely discounting that, because it’s fantastic advice if you are a student awaiting a scholarship or a footballer, but certainly not applicable when you’re in business and you’ve got bills and salaries to pay. So you need to be proactive and rather than sit around waiting for opportunity to knock on your door, or call your mobile phone; instead we suggest you get off your chair and go seeking for opportunity’s door and knock on it!
Seriously, a lot of people are doing just that and getting way ahead of you! Ever wondered why some of your friends hardly visit? It may be because they’re too busy hosting visitors, so if you want to see them you’re better off not holding your breath and waiting; rather you go see them yourself.
Let me illustrate further with a more personal approach on how we operate sometimes in our team.
A few years go while working at a growing advertising agency with a workforce made up of skilled professionals; it was pretty tough to get big customers without a seasoned marketer or accounts man as we call it. We wanted to have big clients like a multinational or one of the Top 10 Banks, but we are based in Abuja and most of the decision makers of such organizations and their advertising agencies are based in Lagos, the commercial hub of Nigeria.
Rather than arrange for meetings with lobbyists and send countless proposals to the ultimate demise of the diminishing rain forest trees. We decided to come up with an approach for a new marketing communications plan, complete with advertising artwork and marketing concepts and creative ideas all ready designed on a CD-ROM. It was totally unsolicited without a creative brief! We arranged meetings with a brand manager and presented our ideas!
They saw what they liked, but even more than that was the fact that we had come all this way, done up preliminary artworks and deduced their marketing direction from researching their current adverts in newspapers and on their website. We were signed up and hopefully we’ll work together happily forever after.
There are key lessons to be learnt here. First, we did not sit around waiting to be called like most people would after submitting a proposal, instead we went further to show them what we’re made off, hence increasing our bargaining power over the competition. It made us look proactive, bold and sure of ourselves. This strategy is impossible to fault and always impresses anyone you’re hoping to do business with.
So the key questions to ask yourself are these:
1. If I could be more aggressive about seeking opportunities for my company, who would I approach?
2. When I approach this client what can I do unsolicited that would impress these potential customers?
Here are some more ideas:
1. Make a list of who you’ll like to be doing business with and brainstorm on ways to make something suitable and tailored for them without spending too much time or money.
2. You’re giving them a “free” present and that’s already unusual, so don’t just stop there. Be creative on how to present it to them as well. If you’re in our line of business i.e. advertising and branding, put up a free mock website of your potential client and send them a text message with the website link telling them to visit that page and see what it would look like; or design a new logo for them. Or if you’re in something as boring as insurance, you could deliver them lunch with a menu of your services. Be free to express yourself and create a lasting impression about you.
Don’t wait for opportunity, go out there and find it. Using this approach to life, you’ll be pleased to find out opportunity is a brilliant host and it’s to be found anywhere and everywhere.
Photo Credit : http://pmaadvantage.com/