How We Approach Client Relationships
Ascendant Facility Partners is new to the Guaranteed Energy Savings market, but we’re not new to the disciplines that bring this service to facilities in need. We’ve said before that our engineer-led energy solutions give us an edge against other companies in this industry.
However, none of that matters if you don’t have the work. We’re not simply speaking of a steady influx of new projects, but instead, the long-term relationships that we’ve found bring us the biggest benefit down the line. At AFP, we think about the future far more than the present. That’s precisely why we put so much stock in business development.
To us, business development isn’t a transactional process. It’s about building actual friendships, bringing meaning to the work you provide your clients, and finding a deeper appreciation of the people you work with to make these projects happen. We sat down with Mark Workman, Business Development Principal.
A Good Relationship Keeps Things Simple
“In this industry, and I suspect it’s the same in most industries, it’s all about the relationships you cultivate.” Mark answers. He says that, without those, you’ll be hard-pressed to find the meaning in your work that keeps you motivated to do more; to try harder.
We asked Mark if he was a “people person.” He balked a bit at the title. “I am not sure how I would classify myself; I’d leave that task to others. However, I do naturally gravitate toward personal interactions. I’ve also long ago learned the value of being invested in the work you do; that means also being invested in the people you’re doing it for.”
Most of all, Mark believes in keeping things simple. He’s found that most clients value honesty and transparency more than anything. If he can keep things simple and honest, then he feels he’s doing a good job.
It Helps to Start with a Solid Foundation
At AFP, we’re at a distinct advantage compared to other guaranteed energy savings companies. We’re not just engineers at heart; engineering is our chosen discipline. While energy savings is our passion, many of our team members work for BFW/Marcum, an established, full-service engineering firm in Kentucky and the outlying region.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say it helps that we know a lot of people in this field, and beyond. Currently, many of our existing BFW/Marcum clients are at the forefront at AFP. The work we do here benefits from our engineering work over on the other side, but it’s inherently different from the stuff we do at BFW/Marcum. It’s exciting to bring our existing clients into the fold and say; look what else we can do for you.
We see AFP as just important as anything else we do. We also anticipate it to grow and grow, so we’re exploring all angles of business development. I’m looking around and I see the sheer potential for energy savings solutions, and I see value in our services for clients that might never have worked with a team of engineers before.”
When it Comes to Clients, You Have to Pick up on the First Ring
“First and foremost, I think many of our clients simply want the question of value answered for them. That is, they want to know what value we can bring to their facility. That’s the easy part; the work speaks for itself.
However, once you get past that formality, you want to position yourself and the firm you represent as one that they can see themselves working with, and coming back to again and again.”
What’s that mean? It means picking up on the first ring. It means understanding the value of face-to-face interaction. Heck, it means being the one to call in the first place, because you can anticipate a client’s needs before they pick up the phone.
Good Clients Will Stick with You; Be Good Enough to Keep Them
“There is no boundary between your business and the relationships you cultivate; they are inseparable.” Mark is sure to emphasize this tenet of business development. There is no firm without the clients, there are no clients without the firm; both are none-negotiable.
Mark believes long-term clients are the key to long-term success. It makes sense when you continue to work with someone you develop a deep understanding which elevates the work.
“One of our very first clients at BFW/Marcum, for instance, was the City of Murray. I am proud to say they are still a collaborator of ours some 25 years later. When your client relationships withstand the test of time, you know you’re doing things right. These long-term relationships are very meaningful to us. It feels great to anticipate a client’s needs, it’s a type of harmony that is both rare and hard-won.”
We’ll Leave You with Three Words
Mark wanted to leave us with 3 words. They’re words he lives by and they haven’t failed him in nearly 3 decades.
“Trust, value, and understanding.” He explains. “That is all there is to it. Those words might feel small, but trust me; they’re everything.”
He says, if you can keep these 3 words in mind every time you talk to a client, then you know you have their best interests at heart. With that, he gets to the core of business development; when you do the right thing, and when you serve your client, the rest will fall into place.