I was chatting growth strategy with a Senior Vice President of a professional services firm last week and was reminded about the fine balance between time spent winning new work and time spent delivering and building relationships with existing clients.
Once a strong bond of trust has formed between a client and their chosen professional advisor, it can be difficult to get clients to accept others handling their affairs – even from within the same firm. Meanwhile – when you are pitching for new business it is often helpful to roll out your heavy hitters and strongest players to lend credibility and excitement to the decision. Balancing these conflicting needs can be a challenge.
As you seek new growth opportunities, ask yourself:
- Is your current approach to Client Service and Account Management scalable?
- Can you continue to offer the same level of personal contact as your client volume grows?
- Might there be ways to offer the same high touch experience to the client while minimising the demands on you or your professional’s time (i.e. through administrative or sales support assistance)?
- Does everyone on your team know what client service expectations you have of them and are there systems in place to help support the expectations?
- How are you paying attention to your existing client relationships between projects? Do you connect with each client periodically just to ask “How’s Business…?”
- How do you introduce others to the client and onboard them to all the knowledge you have about the client’s business? Do you ensure that you transition knowledge about a client’s situation and then discuss how to have the newest member of the team demonstrate their awareness by maybe asking a relevant question or referring to work previously done to help establish client confidence.
- How do you engage your client’s in discussions about changes to their account team to ensure they don’t feel ‘downsized’ to more junior or less experienced talent?
These are tough questions, with no ‘one size fits all’ solution. It requires careful consideration and a willingness to develop a more strategic approach to balancing your business development efforts, else run the risk of clients feeling like they are no longer important to you.
So – what are you doing today to ensure that your people are able to balance the demands of servicing their existing clients and winning new business?