Do you really want clients?

Not projects, but clients.

I’m asking because when I hear a design firm principal ask “How do we get more RFPs,” warning bells go off. It’s the wrong question – and the wrong goal – if your firm wants to succeed.

Just getting more RFP’s very likely won’t produce the results desired.

And simply submitting more proposals doesn’t increase your odds of getting work. Consider that some of your competitors are already building relationships with the clients who’ve published those RFPs.

They’ve taken the time to get to know the clients’ concerns and ambitions. They’ve also built up trust and been able to demonstrate their own expertise. And of course clients are much more likely to choose a firm they know and trust.

So unless you have a relationship-based business development program in place, just focusing on getting more RFP’s – and submitting more proposals – is counter-productive.  And a waste of marketing dollars, time, and energy.

Instead ask “Who are the clients we want to work for?”

Do the necessary research to make that decision; then ask “How do we win them as clients?” Develop your relationship-building tactics from there and move forward.

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