Welcome to my first consultancy article of 2015! Last time, or last year I should say, we looked at my top ten tips for bid writing and how to structure your presentation. Now we are moving on to how you can keep the clients you will now have gained.
We are going to look at this as one of the key aspects of the Delivery Process. We need to bear in mind that a sound delivery process has twin purposes – to create happy clients who a) come back for more and b) refer other people to you. The accepted wisdom is that a happy client is worth two quality referrals, so it makes perfect sense to exploit this.
So, two of the most important goals arising out of your process are:
- Seeking repeat business at the right moment (ideally when the client is at their happiest)
- Seeking referrals at the same time
To these you could add a third goal, namely:
- Working to a process to ensure there is no deviation from the core assignment, managing client expectations all the way, with checkpoint reviews
Why is this third goal important? Well, it is dangerous to assume that the client is happy, and that he or she understands and appreciates the difference you are making. In addition, you do not want to fall foul of an industry disease known as “scope creep”, where all sorts of little bits and pieces get tacked on to the work, not necessarily with an increase in fees, which risk the delivery deadline being compromised.
A couple of other factors to bear in mind:
- If you are going to require support in order to deliver the work, make sure you only use top quality associates; to do otherwise is courting disaster.
- Keep a close eye on outputs and time, so that you don not give yourself too much to do against the clock.
- If the project is pretty much “full on”, try to carve out some time to keep up your networking and prospecting, so that you do everything possible to reduce the chance of moving from feast to famine.
Next time we will look at the importance of Trust and Relationships in establishing rapport with clients. Remember, if you think you are struggling with anything or would like to find out more, you can always contact me.