According to business experts, it costs 5x more in resources to acquire a new client than it does to retain an existing client. That cost is probably greater for those of us who specialize in providing intangible services, where relationships and reputation exert a huge influence on the ability to attract clients and generate billable hours.
It is therefore imperative to 1.) Expertly communicate a strong value proposition and 2.) Unfailingly meet client expectations, even when the client doesn’t really know what the expectations could or should be. Those of us in the service business, tangible and intangible, must learn how to make the customer feel as though he/she has won by doing business with us.
To successfully compete as a service provider involves confidence, reputation, personality and selling skills. Have the confidence to believe in your value as a highly qualified expert in your field. Develop the selling skills to communicate your value with self-assurance (but never arrogance) in a way that is easily understood and targets the needs of your prospective clients. Make clients and prospects feel as if doing business with you is a very smart decision.
Accept that you are not mass market and that your services are not a fit for every potential client. It’s been estimated that 1/3 of customers are focused primarily on price. Do not waste your time with such individuals because they are not for you. Most are negative and difficult to work with, because they know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Sell your unique value by building a portfolio of success stories to trot out and demonstrate the excellent results that you reliably deliver. Use those stories to inspire confidence in your abilities (in both the client and yourself). Turn your client list into your sales force by obtaining word-of-mouth endorsements whenever possible. Build trust in your professional capabilities.
Continue to demonstrate your value by fine tuning your listening skills, so you will hear and understand both what your client wants and also what he/she really needs (and that may not be the same thing) and how you can best apply your talents to the project in a way that the client will come out feeling like a winner, believing that hiring you was a smart decision. Express your answers by using the client’s own words and phrases when possible, using language that the client will relate to and appreciate.
Emphasize the customer service that you are known to provide, the prompt response to client questions and needs and also your sensitivity to costs (despite your premium pricing). Let clients know that it’s actually less costly to travel first class.
Thanks for reading,