by Tony Vidler
The standout burning issue for most professional services firms remains attracting and developing new business, and advisers have a lot of distractions. The thing that is often compromised is existing client service as advisers deal with all the change and try to remain commercially viable.
Yet, the most valuable investment for most advisory firms in this environment is to invest in better, or more, service to existing clients and prospects.
The urgent matter of ensuring there is more new business being driven to the firm is usually not matched with the same intensity to manage existing resources better. There is recognition that existing clients might offer some serious potential, as the most common (paraphrased) feedback from advisers about how they are going to improve business performance goes like this:
As far as marketing tactics go, this list is a good summary of effective actions which a professional services firm could initiate to improve business results.
But the 2 questions that spring to mind when I look at this wishlist of to do items is:
With over 70% of new business typically coming from existing clients or existing client referrals for most firms these days, there is a clear commercial benefit in improving client satisfaction and client engagement levels for most practices. Add in the proportion that comes through from Centres of Influence and it becomes obvious that the best ROI is likely to come from making those people raving fans, rather than having a marginally cooler looking website or a few more Facebook fans.
Do the numbers for yourself. Add up all the money (and cost of your time) spent in marketing and promotion for new business and divide it by the revenue generated from that effort. Then do the same with servicing costs and the revenue generated from existing relationships. I bet the difference will be staggering.
The single biggest opportunity for a typical financial advisory firm to change business results is by investing disproportionately into creating advocates within the existing clientele and prospect base I believe.
In a professional service business, do not lose sight of the commercial importance of the “services” part. The odds are good that it is likely to be the thing that can change business results quickly. The “services” bit in your financial services business is most likely to be the thing that gives you the best return on investment.