“Trigger events” are major changes that affect a business. They can be milestones achieved through the normal course of a business’ life such as buying new equipment or moving locations. Or, they can be through environmental happenings outside of the business’ control such as new laws. For a business owner, they can be joyful, such as a retirement or the sale of a successful venture, or stress-inducing, such as a new regulation or a new competitor in their space.
A company’s need for guidance and various support services is activated whether a trigger event is the result of internal or external factors, and whether it is a positive or a negative from the business owner’s perspective. This is the time when the most consultative small business advisers gain new business relationships.
Common trigger events
As a professional who calls on small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs), it’s critical that you proactively address potential trigger events with your clients. Here are a few examples of events that might impact a business.
Consistent business growth for multiple years may prompt an expansion, an increase in inventory levels, the need for additional professional services, or even merger and acquisition (M&A) activity.
New technology, equipment, or products
To maintain a competitive edge, a business must consider new technologies, upgrades in their equipment, and new product lines being introduced by the competition.
New laws or regulations
Regulations or litigation may demand additional spending by a customer to meet new requirements.
Change in leadership
Changes in leadership occur for many reasons: someone leaves the company, is promoted retires, is fired, etc. A new CEO, new partner, or a change in the management structure should almost always prompt a relationship review.
Take advantage of change
Ultimately, most trigger events are about change—change in leadership or ownership, in a firm’s size or structure, in the way a company does business. As a professional who calls on small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), you can retain and grow client relationships by acknowledging such trigger events and proactively discussing them with a business owner.
First, you must build relationships with business owners so that when there is a trigger event, they know and trust you. You do this by providing helpful insights to them whenever you can without taking up their valuable time.
One way to learn about the potential trigger events that might impact a particular industry is to monitor changes that occur in various verticals. Scan industry news articles to discover timely changes affecting business owners.
Second, be sure you address trigger events as part of your client contact strategy. You can use those conversations to not only remain top-of-mind to the business owner but to show them that you are on top of the changes that are occurring (or may occur) within both their individual business as well as their industry as a whole.
A guide and partner
There are a lot of “what ifs” in life as well as in running a company. Business owners have a lot of different things that keep them up at night, but even so, they don’t always have time to foresee every potential factor that might have an impact on their company’s success or failure.
When it comes to trigger events, it’s all about being proactive and prepared. As a professional services provider calling on SMBs, you can help your clients anticipate the changes that may come with a trigger event by learning about the internal forces impacting their company and the external forces impacting their industry.
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