Well it’s the end of February in Cleveland and it feels like Old Man Winter will not go to sleep. Any of you out there had enough of brushing off your car or shoveling your drive way yet, because I know I have. As the winter draws on staying active becomes more and more frustrating and we find ourselves searching for something fun to do that involves movement for us and our kids. So grab your hat and gloves and let’s see what we can do here in Cleveland during the dog days of winter.

Conduct any open house showing with enthusiasm. If the property happens to be a little bit older, you should make it a priority to highlight all of the interesting architectural details; such as high ceilings, archways, built-in cupboards, and an old-fashioned laundry trash chute fusible link. New properties require that you point out all of the positive features such as energy-saving appliances, stainless steel sink, new Berber style carpeting, and laminate flooring. It is always important to mention any of the schools, churches, shopping centers and pharmacies that are located nearby.

Some love clothes but don’t like women, and some only like very tall skinny women, and some sincerely mean to love women but are carrying around great big laundry baskets full of issues, and some of them like to lash out at anyone who might be an easy target because they secretly don’t like themselves and being snarky reassures them that they’re superior to somebody.

These are the places that are likely to take you in the future. You might even be able to go direct sometime down the line, but even if they don’t take people direct, you can ask them which agencies are on the chutes parts List and then do a deal with one of those.

To me the lesson is clear. If you aren’t involved in discussions with the buying organisation before the RFP arrives your chances of success are so very small that you should ‘no bid’ and save the time and expense. But not before you have tried this. Insist on meeting at least the RFP’s gatekeeper to understand the drivers for the RFP. Ideally, you want to meet with the sponsor and the people who would be using your product or service. If these requests are denied you are probably going to be what US sales guru Mike Bosworth, calls “column fodder” – the buyer wants to have multiple firms responding so they can demonstrate that they have done a thorough job of gathering competitive bids.

After the sale, even before completion, is an easy time to get to the top people because you or your sales people have developed relationships with subordinates that will feel comfortable networking you upward. Your sales people have also got a good reason why the C-Levels should want to meet with them. That is, to see if their expectations were met, and if not, what do they want or suggest you do. Now, if your sales people have met the expectations, it will be easy and appropriate to ask for more business from them.

People in IT don’t do enough in the way of marketing themselves, or indeed of keeping a marketing database. Everyone who wants to see you is a potential future client.