Expanding Services to Clients: Leveraging Relationships and Demonstrating Value
An existing client, one you’ve had a terrific relationship with for over six years has just issued a Request for Proposal (RFP). The client is looking for an additional provider of services in an area for which your firm has expertise but has not been previously engaged to supply. Because you realize that client retention is key in today’s marketplace and it is where seventy percent of tomorrow’s revenue will come from, you understand the urgency in capturing this new piece of business and serving your client in a superior manner. You must be willing to share this relationship with others in your firm and you must be able to convince the client that your firm can bring value. You will need to leverage relationships on both sides of the table as you examine the risks and rewards involved. This is an excellent opportunity for self-reflection and will require an individual to rely on specific characteristics.
- Curiosity. You may be uncomfortable in discussing the particulars of a new matter which does not align with your functional or industry area. By asking thoughtful questions of your client and your colleague before you make introductions, you will be well-positioned to match needs and solutions and will be able to demonstrate value by discussing mutual benefits.
- Confidence. Highly driven professional services providers often guard against any type of perceived diminishment. Introducing your client to another provider in your firm who may be equally dynamic and talented will require confidence. Because you want the best for your client, you eagerly support the new arrangement because you know the client will benefit.
- Commitment. Fostering cooperation among various practice groups will require a superior commitment to communication and teamwork. You may also need to leverage your relationship with the client to better understand business operations and imperatives. A commitment to on-going feedback will not only help ensure a more successful engagement, it may uncover other areas of need as well.
During the process of expanding services to an existing client, be sure to co-develop expectations with their leaders and establish who at your firm has ultimate responsibility for the client’s happiness. Leveraging your relationships and knowledge in a positive way can only lead to a better, more solid relationship with your client, keeping competitors at bay.
Brenda Pontiff is Managing Principal of Partner Track Academy. She is a frequent speaker at partner retreats and association conferences. She has held business development leadership roles in both the accounting and legal arenas as well as having worked as a professional stand-up comic and screenwriter. Though retired from comedy, she can still occasionally been seen performing guest spots on weekends at The Ice House Comedy Club in Pasadena, California. Follow her on Twitter @PartnerTrackA.