Attraction: Attracting New Clients
Attraction, the tenth element of the Client Management Model™, explains:
• how to grow your Client base strategically and profitably;
• using testimonials to attract Clients;
• the importance of having a website that is more than just a shop window on your firm;
• creating Client-researched content that is easy to find, dynamic and retains interest;
• tracking, and acting on, Client interaction;
• the power of referrals to attract new Clients;
• attracting Clients through effective campaigns - how to manage the stakeholders and activities to ensure success;
• attracting Client interest through events - how carefully targeted events can enhance the firm's reputation in a sector, location or service by focusing on Client interest.
• How do you attract new Clients?
• Where should you focus your resources?
• Which Clients should you target?
• Which Clients can you approach for referrals?
• Which Clients might be willing to give us a testimonial?
• Which events are the most effective?
Growing the Client Base Strategically and Profitably
The power of referrals in attracting new clients
Converting referrals from existing Clients is one of the strongest, most successful and cost-effective ways of growing your business. Referrals can come in many forms and can be used in many powerful ways:
• Those referrals that we don't know about - one of our very satisfied Clients mentions our firm in conversation to a peer. When the person referred makes contact with our firm, we should ask them how they heard about us - they may divulge their source.
• Those referrals that we stimulate - we ask our very satisfied Clients if they know of any other organisations that might benefit from our services.
As stated earlier, we can put a value on referral business through Client satisfaction measurement.
Tracking prospective and past clients
Creating a database of prospective, target Clients is very important - ideally a centralised database - storing contact details of potential Clients, their interests and preferences, their attendance at events, dinners and responses to various campaigns. This database (usually a CRM system) can be the same one that is used to store Client information, using the appropriate classification of non-Client or prospect. Ideally, your database should give one view of the Client, so that anyone searching for that Client will find everything in one place: from meetings, to transactions and payments, to attendance at events and so on.
We should also keep a check on those Clients that engaged our firm for one piece of work and then, for some reason, have 'gone cold', or even defected to another supplier. We should try to determine why this has occurred. Sometimes a short telephone call moves matters forward and renews the contact.
Prospective client preferences
In these days of information overload, rapid communication and multiple channels of contact, it is vitally important to determine the things that non-Clients are interested in - by asking them - this avoids them being bombarded with too much irrelevant information.
Raising awareness in non-clients about your firm
A well-known advertising acronym often used when attracting new Clients is to create AID A' - Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.
There are many proven ways of attracting attention and interest in your firm - your investment can vary from:
• Advertising - in appropriate media channels, with copies in reception areas and conference rooms.
• Articles - placing these in appropriate media channels and reception areas.
• Awards - putting Clients forward for accreditation.
• Conference speaking - inviting a prospect to speak at a conference.
• Contacts from previous employers - when you recruit new people, they may be able and willing to alert their past Clients to your firm.
• Digital media channels - many non-Clients search for suppliers through websites, blogs and social media.
• Direct marketing - sending collateral via post or email.
• Events - arranging events that mix Clients with non-Clients.
• Exhibits - taking a stand/booth at a trade or recruitment fair; contacts made can be followed up.
• Face to face contact - organising a meeting to discuss a specific issue.
• Interviewing - asking visitors at an event if they would agree to a short interview, possibly videoed, seeking feedback about the content. This can then be followed up.
• Magazines - aimed at specific audiences.
• Podcasts - providing Clients and prospects links to audio material.
• Promotional merchandise - products carrying the firm's brand.
• Seeking referrals - asking loyal Clients to recommend others to use the firm.
• Sending information that may interest target Clients - newsletters are quite popular here.
• Telephone contact - the least costly - organising campaigns with a specific message known to be of likely interest to a non-Client.
• Webinars - seminars held via a website that can be attended via an email invitation.
• Website - the shop window into the firm with compelling content and easy navigation.
Some years ago a colleague in an accounting firm mentioned that one of his potential Clients revealed that he had received over 40 items in one month from a competing accounting firm! He said that most of the items were a waste of time - the firm could have improved likely response to these stimuli if only they had asked about his preferences.