I was with a client recently who has managed to win some business from well known darling of the UK high street. The problem is that whilst it is a great client to have, my client was told that they are very unlikely to get a much bigger slice of the company’s legal work.
You too may have clients like this. Or may be you have an advisory, transactional or ‘distressed’ type of service where you are unlikely to get another ‘bite of the cherry’ so to speak, from the client. This doesn’t mean to say that these clients cannot be more valuable to you in the future – you just need to think laterally how to make them more valuable to you . . . Here are some suggestions.
Harness the power of their network
Each of these clients will have a network of customers, clients, suppliers and contacts. If appropriate, how about asking them for an introduction? (Of course if you deliver a distressed purchase such as family law or insolvency, this may not be possible or even desirable to ask!) Most client’s networks will typically include many other organisations similar to themselves.
This means that any one client will probably know about 2 or 3 other potential clients who would benefit from your service. Get into the habit of speaking to your clients at least quarterly to find out how their business is doing, how you could potentially help them out and also who do they know who they can introduce you to, who would benefit from your services.
Get a recommendation from them
If these clients are very happy with your service then ask permission to use a recommendation from them on your marketing materials. This may be as simple as a line or two on your website. Or you could make their recommendation really earn its keep, by asking them for the following:
- A video testimonial, which you can show to prospective clients on your mobile phone or iPad.
- A LinkedIn recommendation.
- Accompanying you to a pitch to talk about their experience of using you.
- Attending a webinar or seminar you are running and having a moment in the spotlight to recommend your services to other people in the room.
Once again if you offer a very discreet service or “distressed” type service this may not be possible. However, it may be possible to get a recommendation from another advisor who was also working on the case.
Use them as a case study
Use this client as a case study to showcase you and your firm’s talents and specialist skills. In fact, if you were feeling really creative you could create this case study as a short video with both you and the client telling the story.
Use them as a sounding board
When people think about their existing clients, they normally think about them as a pure revenue generating medium. However, your existing clients can act as a great sounding board for you and your team. For example, they could test out a new software for you, pilot a new service offering, or give you valuable insight into the state of the market place at the moment.
Use them as a supplier for your business
The revenue doesn’t need to always be flowing in one direction. Help to strengthen the client-advisor bond by seeing how you can use their product or service in your business.
Use them to smooth out the peaks and troughs in demand for your firm’s services
Very often in your annual calendar you will have times when you are incredibly busy, and other times when your team members are scratching around for things to do. If you can, incentivise some of your clients to require their compliance type work, e.g. audit, accounts, tax returns to be completed in your quiet times.
Cross-sell to them
Your large client base is a very valuable asset – and something that many businesses near to you would like to utilise. For example, when you are at a networking meeting, how many of your clients could you introduce to your network group? Could you introduce your clients to an IFA in return for a commission split?
We have a great course in our subscriber-only site Progress to Partner called How to Make time for Business Development. The course gives you the structure, clarity, and guidance to create a daily business development habit and a business development plan that is focussed and not just based on friendly coffees!