The Bridge That Time Built

Last week I ran through the mountain range that is the customer journey. This week, I explain how we help our clients build new routes across them…

As the recently departed artist and author, Les Coleman, once said: “A bridge has no allegiance to either side.” It’s a quote that’s stuck with me for years – and one that has never been more applicable than it is with GDS today.

And while I’d plant myself in firm agreement with Mr Coleman, I’ll take it one step further: a bridge’s allegiance belongs not to the sides it anchors itself on, but to those to walk upon it.

And so it is with the bridges we’re building between those all-important summit peaks to better plot our clients’ journeys. Last week, I gave you the why; this week, it’s all about the how.

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Consider this first: The final countdown is often anything but for our clients. Timescales change, priorities shift and diaries fill up – and before they know it, all the time they had ahead of them is now whistling by, while follow-up meetings become harder and harder to book.

So what’s the answer? Of course, it would be naïve for us to suggest that we can control time for our clients – but what we can do it manage it for them. And that’s where the ‘how’ comes in.

The question you have to ask yourself is why is time so important to our clients? Well, for starters, it’s a case of relationship building; the longer you leave that relationship, the more that relationship erodes. Pass that relationship off to another member of your team; it erodes. Find yourself in a game of ‘call the PA’; it erodes. Go on holiday to the Bahamas for two weeks and never call while you’re probably outside drinking Pina Col…you get the drift.

Next up, you have to consider excitement and interest levels. If you’ve done the work and heightened interest levels, you need to strike while the iron is hot – hard to do three months down the line.

Last, but by no means least: access. We all work in today’s ‘always on’ digital arena – one where schedules change at the drop of a hat. Gaining access to those schedules is pivotal to cementing meetings and following up on the relationships you’ve invested both money and energy into. Again, not easy to do if you’re only on business-card terms.

The ‘how’ from GDS comes into play within these three spheres of influence. We lean on the deep-seated relationships we have with our delegate network to ensure the bonds they have with our clients don’t become stale. We absolutely abuse the privilege we have in our virtual meeting platform with MeetTheBoss to connect discussions and keep them flowing hours, days and weeks after a Summit has finished – complete from the comfort of offices and slotted easily into working days.

But perhaps the most important ‘how’ belongs within access. Why? Because, in working closely with our delegates across everything we do, we build trusted relationships. And in building trusted relationships, we gain exclusive visibility into diaries to schedule meetings that work for both parties, free from bias and pressure.

And when we do that, we start building bridges.

What those bridges mean today is already being proven with MeetTheBoss and its follow-up process. What it means tomorrow – for both GDS and its clients – in terms of delivery and execution, is where I’ll be heading next week…

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About Spencer Green

Spencer Green founded GDS Publishing Ltd in October 1993 to specialise in industrial, government-led publications for the burgeoning Chinese market. The company launched over forty business-to-business titles, was name-checked alongside Tony Blair on China’s national news as ‘best for Chinese business’, and – following a move into India – deemed to be ‘of national importance’ by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. In 1998, GDS Publishing became GDS International and launched its first conference, Enterprise China. The hugely successful Enterprise series of conferences was rolled out across China and Latin America in the next two years. In 2000, GDS International launched its first Senior Executive Summit under the ‘Next Generation’ banner. This became the catalyst for nine years of 25% year-on-year growth... and 40% growth in 2010. In 2011, GDS held over 70 Summits for C-level Executives from a wide range of industries and across the globe, and eight digital marketing conferences. Today, GDS International is determined to become the world’s no. 1 business-to-business media and services company. It’s going to be an exciting journey! Spencer is married to Emily. They have two children, Finlay and Maya, and live in Bristol, UK.
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