Business development is all about building great relationships with your clients. It’s not just landing the project; you have to always be moving your clients toward becoming Raving Fans. One of BIG’s favorite tools to do this is the Asset, which is any tangible (or web-based), value-providing item that you can give to your Protemoi in order to move them down the Path to a Raving Fan.

Not all Assets are created equal. The overriding principle is that more you tailor an Asset to each particular client, the more effective it will be. The best ones are those that obviously required deliberate thought and effort. You could send a client a book with written notes in the margins to help them improve their business, or maybe you could send a blog article that is especially pertinent to one of your clients with a personalized email. You could even send a piece of sports memorabilia to the client who you know is a die-hard fan. It doesn’t necessarily have to be business related; it just needs to add value to your clients.

In that sense, Assets are almost like Christmas presents. Try to remember the best, most memorable presents that you have ever received. Most likely they were the ones that required obvious thought. Maybe they got you something that you had been hinting that you really wanted, or maybe they made you something themselves. Whatever it was, that gift probably demonstrated that the person put in the necessary thought to pick out/make the perfect gift for you.

Now, ask yourself a different question. What were the least memorable gifts that you ever received? If you are like most people, the answer is probably gift cards. Even bad gifts are more memorable than the generic gift card, because at least they give us something to laugh about. Gift cards, though they can be completely acceptable gifts, lack the “wow” factor that would allow them to be memorable.

The enemy of great Assets is that “gift card” mentality. To be successful, Assets should never be generic. Like we teach here at BIG, the key to building deep, meaningful relationships is to have a number of interactions that provide value. For example, by taking a few minutes to highlight the key chapters of a business book for your client, you have saved him time while also providing ideas that can be implemented in his/her business. That’s value added. Then, if you go one step further and add you own thoughts and notes in the margins, the amount of value provided goes up substantially. Who wouldn’t be impressed if they received an Asset like that?

Assets are some of the most powerful tools that business development professionals can use to move your clients along the Path to a Raving Fan. They are super simple and they can be a great way to add value to your clients. Just remember that the key to Assets, just like great presents, is to show that you care. The thought really does matter!