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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rainmaking, networking, and business growth

More than 100 architecture, engineering and construction marketers attended the SMPS DC Chapter's lunch meeting yesterday. Ford Harding, author of Rainmaking: Attract New Clients No Matter What Your Field, gave a speech -- and signed copies of his book given to everyone attending the meeting.

Yesterday, I headed to 7th Street NW near Washington D.C.'s Chinatown neighbourhood for an interview with Rainmaking guru Ford Harding, a SMPS D.C. Chapter lunch, and some key meetings and conversations with the person who will likely be the new publisher of Washington Construction News.

I will share more from Harding's observations in the days ahead, but the singular magic of the day comes down to one of the most important cornerstones of success in marketing -- you will always do best at the work you enjoy, and if you can relate your marketing to that process you are likely to be successful.

Of course, sometimes you need to do what you need to do to survive in business. One of Harding's best examples is of a person who started out in his own business, with the understanding that his largest client at his previous place of employment would continue working him. However, shortly after the new business owner opened his door, his first and only key client disappeared. The business owner had only one choice to survive: Learn how to sell!

Not surprisingly, many people who chose careers in architecture, engineering and construction want to practice their trade or profession -- not be some obnoxious sales person. As Harding noted in his speech, many people have perceptions and standards and expectations of what selling is about which are inaccurate -- or if they are accurate, represent only a part of the picture.

For example, you can expect virtually every individual sales activity will not result in business -- but if you don't engage in all the necessary activities, you definitely will not get any business (and if you do the right thing, if you, as Harding suggests, "get it", you will succeed.)

Fortunately, if you are unfamiliar with marketing, if you are looking to learn how to acquire the necessary skills, you can connect with your local Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) chapter. You'll gain access to resources, connections and a business network which will help you develop your skills an overcome your fears about the marketing process.

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