RESET: A Different View on PartnershipsApril 16, 2014 | By Wayne O'Neill
Are you out there looking for lead exchange partners? Or are you looking for partners who can help you obtain client intelligence? Watch this video from Wayne O’Neill with a different view on partnerships.
Today we’re going to talk about a different view on leveraging partnerships.
So here’s a call I get all the time from CEOs. They’ve started numerous lead sharing environments and they’re frustrated because, here’s what they say to me, we’ve pulled together firms that we talk to all the time. We all get together in a group, there’s about nine or 10 of us. We start sharing information regarding leads. It works well for about 30 days maybe 45 days then it starts to become a social exercise. And before we know, in about 90 days, the whole effort is kind of lost all its energy and all it’s juice.
Kind of makes sense to me. So I want you to think about not a leads sharing. I want to think about leveraging client intelligence. And the first thing I want you to think about is, who do you want to have in that effort? It’s normal to want to talk to the people that you know. It’s normal to want to talk to the firms that you’re comfortable with. But I want you to think about talking to firms that are diverse. That aggregate and decipher client intelligence, and they have a larger view on their growth.
So who are those firms? Sometimes they’re– if you’re in the design construction business– they can be in the information technology business. Sometimes if they’re in the information technology business they can be in the operational consulting business. I want you to think about talking to firms that engage your clients in a very different way.
Second thing, we all kind of have our own take on who really knows the best client intelligence. And generally we want to kind of share information up. In the design and construction business, if you’re an engineer you think architects and program managers have all the great information. If you’re in the construction side of design and construction, you think as a vendor that all the general contractors will have all the best information. It’s the same kind of food chain that happens in information technology. It also happens in management consulting.
I want you to rethink this. What you’re only after is somebody that knows how to aggregate and decipher client intelligence. And sometimes that can be– you know I’ve seen food service consultants, that because food service has become an impactful part of the way buildings come together, they know a lot about the business and political issues that go on with a client. Sometimes somebody that’s even a vendor or product, somebody offering a product like carpets, they’ll know a lot of things. Be careful who you dismiss. What you’re only after is who aggregates and deciphers client intelligence.
Second thing is, I want to talk about two exercises of how do you do this. When you do it individually with one on one with the client, we do something called a blitz meeting. I see firms do this all the time. You sit down, you socialize, you share the history of each other’s firms, you talk about project background. It’s not that that’s not helpful.
Here’s what I want you to think about. We facilitate a session where you ask a question, who are your better clients and why does that firm have those clients? Second thing, who are the clients that you’re lusting for? And what have been the struggles of the impediments of you interacting and connecting with those firms? Those two discussions around maybe two or three different existing clients and clients that you’re lusting for will tell you a lot more about the firm that you want to interact with.
Second exercise, think about this, all those firms I talked about in the who discussion, pull them together in one meeting. Two or three hours at most. It’s a facilitated discussion. Instead of talking to the people that are normally, that you normally just network, bring in diverse players. Again, if you’re in the information technology business maybe you bring in a lot of people that are engaging your clients from design and construction. Because these are again, big capital decision making environments. Bring people that are doing management consulting. But if you bring in eight to nine different diverse firms and then asked this question. Who are the smarter clients that you’re trying to connect with as a group? Not as a joint venture. Not as an association. Who are those clients and what are some business and political issues that you could use as a group to start that discussion? Again this is a counter intuitive exercise.
The punchline, why? Because what we all share when we go to market, it’s not what you know is what you don’t know. Think about this, secondly, when you’re trying to be effective at this, go back to the CEO call that I always get.
Here’s another part of that complaint. I spend too much time networking. Every firm that I know unless you’re Coca-Cola or really large or unless you’re a VC firm, then you need all– or a start up firm, then you need all the help you can get. It only takes about 10 or 15 different partners that, after they think of themselves, 1A is they think about you.
Do you want to spend five hours with a firm or do you want to spend 50 hours with a firm? You don’t have to throw people out of your network you can always have lunch with somebody. But what I want you to think about is who are you strategically investing your time with that are helping you change the trajectory of growth of your firm.
Hey, thanks for listening and be safe.