If you resolve to increase your bottom line in 2018, one strategy to do that is leverage your valuable clients and referral sources more. Setting aside a little time for deliberate outreach can yield benefits to you and your contacts.
Some outreach takes as little as five minutes. For example, when reading your daily paper or industry journal, make a point of selecting an article that would be of interest to someone you know and send it with a personal note. Similarly, as you hear of changes in industries where clients and friends work, send a quick email letting them know of impact they may face. As you are doing current client work, periodically and proactively email a short status update with an invitation to reply for further discussion.
At the beginning of each week, plan to contact at least one current or past client. The nature of your contact can serve to maintain current relationships, as well as identify new opportunities. At some point, take a moment to write down what your best clients have in common (traits, characteristics, type of individual or company, from whom they were referred.) This will focus your contact further.
- Call a client for whom you have recently completed a transaction just to see how well their expectations were met.
- Pick up the phone and call a client or contact you have not talked to recently – touch base, check in to simply see how the person is doing; consider inviting them for coffee.
- Schedule a non-billable meeting with a client to review how the relationship is going and address any concerns your client may have.
- Contact two clients whose businesses or interests may complement one another and introduce them.
- Identify five clients of yours you would like to introduce to one of your partners or colleagues with a goal of expanding your work with each.
- Contact a client who recently ended their relationship with the firm and determine what happened; communicate to those on your team to prevent future client dissatisfaction events.
Schedule time monthly or quarterly for larger tasks. Make a list of your top referral sources; call one of those people and schedule coffee or lunch. Routinely review your contact list for accuracy; make corrections and additions and have your assistant enter them. Identify a trade or professional association that attracts your ideal clients or referral sources; attend and consider membership or leadership involvement.
Don’t forget to look immediately around you. Take a partner, associate, or colleague to lunch or coffee and find out more about their current work. Tell your assistant how much you appreciate his or her role in helping you serve others.
Investing time in yourself also helps your clients and referral sources. Read a book per month on relationship building, networking, or building trust and loyalty. Be mindful of how you are spending your time, so you can track what is paying off. Track your time daily (don’t let it accumulate), or ask your assistant to do it for you. Use your time entries as a marketing tool to demonstrate the value you bring to your clients and referral sources; provide more detail. Reflect upon where (and how) you are spending your time on pro bono matters or community service.
Above all else, give to others first without expecting anything in return.
Key take-away: Your richest source of repeat and new business is already in place. Leverage your best clients and referral sources more conscientiously.