This entry was posted on March 4, 2013 – No Comments
Building strong client relationships is no easy task. If you’re responsible for marketing, business development, or any sales organization, here are five critical questions to ask if you’re trying to generate more business.
QUESTION #1: How do most consumers find what they buy?
Research indicates that almost 80% of consumers find new professional services, or any product for that matter, on a referral basis. Why? Not surprisingly, 90% of people believe that word of mouth referral is the most trustworthy source of information.
QUESTION #2: Is my best source of new business from existing clients?
For many service providers – lawyers, CPAs, financial advisors, insurance and mortgage brokers – their best source of new business is sitting right underneath them. It’s their existing clients. It’s a readily available database of contacts that has worked with you already, so what better group of individuals to vouch for your work and refer new business your way? The question is, “How do you get them to spread the word and refer new business?”
QUESTION #3: What drives my clients or customers to refer new business to me or my firm?
Sometimes it’s just luck, but more often than not it will be based on the strength of your relationship with your client. This will be based on a number of factors, some of which are within your control, some of which are out of your control. Performing quality work at the right price won’t necessarily get your client to open his or her mouth, however. It is going to be your ability to stand out in your client’s mind that will ultimately determine whether or not you get a referral. And this takes time as it largely depends on how many quality interactions you have with your client on an annual basis. Do you think you stand out in your client’s mind now?
QUESTION #4: How do I currently market myself to existing clients?
This is where it gets tricky. Many service providers don’t feel comfortable coming right out and asking their existing clients for referrals. If they do, it might be once or twice, but anything beyond that might be negatively perceived. There are plenty of tactics to market to existing clients – such as newsletters, email marketing, dinners, or sponsored events – but how effective are those channels? Generally speaking, direct mail and email marketing efforts yield conversion rates under 1%, while dinners or sponsored events can easily run into thousand-dollar plus (or hundred-thousand-dollar plus) events and often reach very small audiences. So this often leaves many service providers asking, “Is there a better way to market to my existing clients?”
QUESTION #5: How much time do I have to devote to marketing efforts?
This was a trick question – your answer should be “almost zero”, regardless of your function within a professional services firm. For any service provider – CPAs, Lawyers, and Financial Advisors alike – time is their commodity, it’s what they sell. So many marketing activities, which are done with the goal of driving new or repeat business, often fall by the wayside.
The best marketing strategies are the ones that (1) take the least amount of time to implement, (2) allow for a very targeted approach, and (3) offer clear cost-control capabilities… all of which is done for the purpose of strengthening existing client relationships. Because almost any service provider knows that their next piece of business is either going to come from an existing client or a new word of mouth referral from an existing client. So you have to effectively market to your existing clients to be… effective!
What Can You Do?
Call or visit Giftsontime.com (888-468-1830) and see if our free gift planning tools can help you stay “Top of Mind” with your Clients.