This is the second blog in a series by Martin Bragg, highly experienced business development expert with 20 years experience in professional service firms. Martin has worked in business development for major international law firms including the magic circle and for accountancy practices in the big four and beyond. (Martin’s 1st blog post can be found here) In this second blog post, Martin explores a problem that can come back to bite you – are you delivering on the promises in your pitch? A pitch document is not a service level agreement. But whatever you promise in your pitch you need to follow through consistently – even if another partner has promised the client ‘the earth’ to win the client. The question is, are you prepared to make promises you can keep and keep the promises you make? (If you need help with pitching you may find our FREE guide to designing and delivering presentations, email required, a good starting point)
Under promise and over deliver
It is a cliché but like all good cliché’s it is based in fact. A raft of outlandish promises may win you a job or a place on the panel but unless you are ready and able to follow through with them it is a recipe for an unhappy client. There is probably nothing worse than losing a client which has taken ages to win. After all, it’s 7-14 times cheaper to get more work from an existing client than win a new client. I am not saying don’t make bold promises. We are in a competitive world and, if you don’t, the chances are someone else will. Be aggressive, be competitive but when you win make sure your client knows that you take your promises seriously. Only make promises in your pitch that you are prepared to deliver consistently throughout the life time of the contract. Even better road test your promises with your client before you submit your bid. For example, ask:
- Would they like to be billed monthly, or at key delivery points in the contract?
- How valuable would they find flexible payment terms?
- If regular reporting should include a summary that can be passed up the food chain without editing?
Regardless of what your potential client answers, you gain credit for being the firm that cares most about what the client values. And if the answer is yes, make sure you follow through! Use our free guide to writing your own marketing plan, email required, as a useful starting point when thinking about client service and your marketing options
Take out a recent successful pitch document and read through it highlighting all the promises you make in it. Everything from ‘an agreed first 100 day action plan’ to ‘will call to discuss bills before submitting them’. Are you delivering on them? More importantly would your client recognise that you are? Schedule a call or meeting and make sure your client knows you take your promises seriously.
Delivering on your promises to clients throughout the lifetime of the engagement and beyond is key to retaining and keeping clients. Martin Bragg is a highly experienced business development expert with 20 years experience in professional service firms. Martin has worked in business development for major international law firms including the magic circle and for accountancy practices in the big four and beyond. Martin can be contacted via email on email@example.com.