Why Does The "Wooing Stage" End When They Become A Client?
You researched the prospect.
You met with their top people, perhaps several times.
You assembled a flashy presentation showing them all the things your firm could do.
Then you finally won them as a client! Success! Congratulations all around.
Not long after, a funny thing happens after a period of time: The honeymoon period ends. The client feels taken for granted, neglected or just not as important as they used to be.
How could such good feelings subside? Why did this happen and how did we get here?
In a word: Complacency.
Yes, your firm almost certainly has people of high skill with an array of quality services. Even your processes might be solid. That’s not the issue.
The issue is one that we often hear in professional services firms: Firms that win new business feel on top of the world. Once they win that business, they soon tend to stop talking to clients as much because they don’t see a need. And that’s precisely when good firms begin to stumble.
We see at least three common characteristics in firms that become too complacent:
They Equate Victory And Longevity With Permanent Client Satisfaction. Phrases like the following begin to be said throughout the firm’s environment:
“We know what our clients want and need.”
“We’ve served this client for ___ years.”
These are the things that firms typically say when they’re coasting on their reputation. There are plenty of firms that lose clients after having them for decades. When they say they know the client, what do they know? Who do they know? Are they absolutely sure they know what’s new and what’s changed?
They Think Their Firm Has All The Answers
The firm is reluctant to introduce other parties that might further the client’s business into the relationship. Why? They think they’re a one-stop-shop that can serve all the needs of the client and don’t need anybody else.
They Stop Asking Questions
“What’s going on in your business?” “How can we serve you better?” These may seem like basic questions, but it’s amazing how even the most simple of inquiries in a complacent firm seem to happen less and less. The leadership believes they know the client well and that the relationship is never going to be altered in a major way.
The moment they assume a general state of “business as usual,” they’re in a potentially vulnerable place to be, especially considering:
Clients and the situations surrounding their companies are not predictable.
Think about all the types of changes that can occur to impact a client’s business.
There may be change from one generation to the next.
Key employees may have problems with current management.
Technology changes may occur which render a primary product obsolete.
There may be regulatory changes.
There may be new competitors.
Unless you’re staying in touch with the client regularly, how will you know any of this? The answer: You probably won’t.
What The Best Relationships Are Made Of
If you want to avoid the complacency trap, don’t be like most professional services firms that wait for the client to bring them a problem to solve.
The client values a firm that’s proactive. They need a firm of creative problem solvers that deliver new ideas, articles on relevant trends and insights that are customized to the client’s unique challenges and goals.
In addition, make it a point to have regular check-in meetings with the client. By listening and talking to them, you can uncover several things they’re dealing with that you might have never otherwise heard. This way, you have a better sense of what lies around the corner and how to shift gears to prepare for it rather than be shocked out of the blue. Firms assume “no news is good news” so they don’t check in. That’s a mistake.
I believe what makes one firm a “vendor” and another a “trusted resource” is that the latter firm doesn’t just see themselves as serving the client within their own silo. They see themselves as a group that the client turns to when they need guidance, regardless of the services the firm actually provides. In fact, even when the firm can’t be of help, they’re a valuable sounding board.
So remember the very ingredients that got you the initial conversation…that got you the presentation…that got you the business. When you see an existing client needs to be “wooed” just as much today as when you were chasing them as a prospect, you’ll be in position to keep the business – a very happy client’s business – under your roof.
What If Your Greatest Opportunity For Growth… …Is With A Client You Already Have?
It’s entirely possible. At this moment, there are clients you have that might be in need of one additional service you offer. Until you identify that emerging need, you’ll be leaving money on the table – money waiting to be taken by a competitor.
That’s where the "Change Your Paradigm" client loyalty assessment from Value Drivers can be an excellent tool on your side. Within 3 months, this assessment will help reveal gaps in perceptions between your firm and its clients, the additional services you can leverage for growing existing relationships, which clients might be most vulnerable to leaving and more.
Coasting in “business as usual” mode? You’re better than that. Let’s show your clients how much better after the Client Loyalty Assessment reveals your best course of action for retention. Make it your priority to learn more by contacting Value Drivers today at 312.827.2643.