A recent survey of NAM C-Level Executives in professional service firms outlined the following as key challenges for 2017.
How can firms develop a strategy to target this primary need [70.5%] to attract and develop new business for their firm?
You should actively look to cultivate your top clients as referral sources. Client entertainment is a traditional way of generating deeper and better relationships. Keeping your clients up to date with what is happening at your firm is often overlooked. Look to make your clients feel like they are real VIP heroes for your firm. Make them feel part of your team. Social media automation is an excellent way of enabling this type of communication. Use these channels to keep your clients up to date and use it as an opportunity to introduce the full range of services that are available to them.
Featuring your top clients in case studies is not a new idea, but it is underused. Often it is the manner in which the case study is told, the medium of communication used and how well you amplify the content that determines how successful it will be. The more people you get to hear your story the more likely it will be for someone within your network or theirs, who has a connection with your firm, to hear about it and take action to make contact with you. Video is the optimum method of delivering case studies as the search engines reward this type of rich content heavily. It is also much more engaging for your viewing audience.
Internet video accounts for 69% of all Internet traffic in 2017. By 2019 it will be 80%”
Always look to showcase your best case studies and clients in articles and presentations. These examples of your work are very credible. Viewers may choose to contact these clients for a reference or to contact your firm directly. Just as with any sales process, there is a numbers element involved. The more people you can expose to your message the more likely it is they will engage with you.
This is often viewed as a dangerous exercise as it opens your list to your competitors. But this perspective should be ignored. You should be confident in your own firms abilities to be able to manage this type of activity. If you also ask your clients before using their name they will be much more likely to recommend and refer you than to jump to another competitor.
Approaching and interacting with known industry experts is always a positive thing for your firm. It offers these experts the chance to learn about your firm. They may be interested themselves or at the very least will be more likely to refer you based on the interview experience. It also gives you a positive association with the expert or business being interviewed.
As far as looking to establish your firm as experts, you need to look for a narrow space to own rather than a broad approach. It is too difficult to attain expert status across the full spectrum of your business. Look to be narrow in your focus and then to be deep in relation to your expertise and service offering around these areas. This is where you will differentiate your firm.
You will have key people in your organisation that should look to establish themselves as recognised industry experts. Look for opportunities to promote these key personnel. Recent HBR research highlighted that the following were key factors in considering a professional services firm. It confirms the benefits of industry profile.
Getting exposure with these key people will:
Getting referrals it’s an excellent way to grow your business. Their nature means they are to be nurtured carefully. It is much harder to grow a lead from a cold start rather than through a referral mechanism.
These referrals are the most valuable as they come from clients or other professionals that have worked with your firm. Getting these businesses to endorse and recommend you is very powerful. For prospects it is hugely significant that they see and hear your existing clients and partners having positive things to say about you and giving an insight into what it will be like working with your firm. You should look to cultivate these types of leads.
These are referrals from people and businesses who have not worked with you directly but are aware of your firm and the work that you do. This might be through someone that does work with you. They might be familiar with your services or content you have produced or perhaps of an area of speciality.
You should also read our previous blog on Professional Services Firms. In this blog we spoke about embracing