Should you be marketing to your existing clients?
Marketing Ideas & Practice Management & Sales & Marketing for Professional Services

Should you be marketing to your existing clients?

August 27, 2018

by Tony Vidler  CFP logo   CLU logo  ChFC logo

What do you want most from your marketing:

1.  More customers, or,

2.  More revenue?

 

Most marketing efforts are aimed at trying to convince strangers to bring their business to you.  New clients are good of course, and are in fact vital for the long term success of a business.

 

Existing clients are better though, and there is often a much better return on investing in marketing to them first because many of them probably don’t know all that you can (and should!) do for them.

 

So before throwing all that effort at trying to convince strangers that you are good enough to use, think about whether your own customers know you are good.  A hard navel-gazing question perhaps, but

 

Do your customers actually know you are good at what you do?

 

There are usually excellent indications as to whether they do or not from their behaviour, or attitude to your business.

If you are good and your customer know it you will undoubtedly be experiencing growth in the practice.  In that case, then the bulk of the marketing resources can be applied to getting more new customers.

 

If you are not very good at what you do your customers realise it you will be experiencing relatively high turnover of customers, and instead of throwing more resources at marketing it would pay to throw the resources at providing better service and advice – or getting better at the basics.  It is worth noting here that often being “not very good” as far as customers are concerned is not actually about being an incompetent adviser or having poor technical knowledge.

 

The perception that a particular adviser is not very good is more often than not a reflection of poor positioning and value proposition: you have been commoditised in the customers eyes.  Those who merely move product and try to compete on price suffer from this perception more than any other.  The adviser may well be a great technician, but their business model or positioning is simply driven by a price point or shifting product, and in discerning customers eyes that says enough really.

 

However most practices seem to fall into the trap with many of their existing customers of being excellent, but without their customers knowing entirely what they are excellent at (or perhaps even knowing if they are excellent at all).  It is a massive lost opportunity for advice firms.

 

The tell-tale sign is when customers have core products or services that you could have provided – or should have provided – but which were sourced elsewhere.

 

If this is happening then the best use of limited marketing resources is to focus on marketing to your existing clients.

 
If the answer to the question “are you good?” is a “No”….then spend some money on shifting that position before even bothering with trying to do a lot of marketing.  “No good” is destined for failure anyway.  
 
If there is significant defection, or turnover, in your customer base then you are no good.  It doesn’t matter if YOU think you are good, your customers are telling you otherwise. Spend your marketing budgets and efforts changing that perception first, as there is no point spending a fortune to attract new people only to lose them again a short time later.
 
The time to really ramp up the marketing efforts in attracting brand new customers is when you are sure that all of your existing customers are giving you all the business they do in your core service offerings.
You might also be interested in this related article:
Dropping the “Who Do You Know” bomb is just dumb
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