4 Ways Consultants Can Win More Projects with Existing Customers and Increase New Business
No one needs to tell you that retaining existing customers and attracting new ones via referrals is the lifeblood of your consultancy. But this effort might be easier than you think. Research indicates that a simple relationship management strategy – for both clients and prospects – can reap huge rewards for busy consultants.
1. The Real Reason You Lose Clients – Stay in Touch
There are a number of reasons why a client may choose to churn away from your firm. The most obvious of these is simple dissatisfaction with the job that you are doing for them. But this dissatisfaction accounts for only 14% of those who choose to leave. In over two-thirds (68%) of cases, the reason that clients stop buying your product or service is because of an “attitude or feeling of indifference towards them by one or more persons representing the company.” In other words, many churned customers perceive your customer service to be lacking and therefore think that you have stopped caring about their business.
The solution to this problem is very simple: stay in touch. You would be remiss if you didn’t know the key stakeholders within your client base, but do you know how often they are being contacted by your team? Your relationship management strategy needs to give you visibility of the level of contact for each client so that you can react accordingly.
2. Improve Customer Service – Increase Referrals
Another key statistic is that less than 4% of your customers will tell you if they are unhappy with the work that your firm is doing. Getting in touch with the right people and simply asking them how things are going may well surface any problems before they become toxic to the relationship. And if you are regularly in touch with a happy client, it becomes a simple task to ask them for a referral;
3. Determination Is the Key to Closing Deals
As we know, consulting is primarily a referral business, but turning expressions of interest into booked clients isn’t going to happen overnight. The vast majority (88%) will give up on a prospect if the deal hasn’t been closed within the first three contacts. Yet only 10% of sales are made on the third call, and a staggering 80% of sales are made somewhere between the fifth and twelfth contact. So by simply remaining in touch with a prospect, it will give you an edge over your competition.
4. Make Contact Details Transparent
The problem is, of course, that the best salespeople – your top consultants – are also the busiest. You have to make it easy for them to manage their relationships with prospects. The capture of contact details should be automated and visible across the whole business in order to minimise data inputting. It should be easy for consultants to schedule calls and share progress with colleagues who may be able to help close a deal. And they should be able to do all of this on their mobile devices so that they can use otherwise unproductive downtime (e.g., time spent in a taxi) to better effect. Help them to help you.
Success Is Never Easy, So Don’t Make It Harder Than It Should Be
Building a successful consulting business requires hard work and a willingness to take risks. The last thing you need is for a sloppy attitude toward managing your relationships with key clients and prospects to derail future success. Fortunately, all it takes to avoid this is determination and a good process, and you wouldn’t be where you are without plenty of both.
I would be happy to hear more ways in which your consultancy firm improves client retention and attractiveness. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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