As a professional services provider, you need to focus on positioning yourself and your business appropriately. Appropriate positioning, in this case, means that you should do everything possible to be seen by your clients as a "resource for life".
The "resource for life" approach means that you invite clients to engage with you now, and again in the future, whenever they need someone with your services and skillsets. The "resource for life" approach moves you from being a commodity (i.e. just anyone who can solve their problem right now) to a trusted and valuable advisor.
This shift from being viewed as a commodity to being a trusted advisor is one of the most valuable positioning efforts you can make. Why? Because positioning yourself in this way drives repeat business, and increases the lifetime value of a customer.
As marketers and business owners, we should be focusing about 60% of our marketing efforts on selling more to our current customers; aiming to increase both the number of sales AND the average cost per sale.
What this means is that we need to sell more, to the same people- and find a way to do this with integrity, over and over again.
Most business owners worry about generating new customers, when, in fact, their businesses would grow more quickly and be more profitable if they focused on selling more to people who have already chosen to buy from them.
Focusing on your existing customers can take weeks (or months) off the sales cycle.
So how should you position your business as a resource for life? Here are a few ideas:
- Mention this at the start of any new client/business relationships. I have a few sentences in my initial consulting agreement which specify that I would be available for consultation and assistance in the future, on these or other issues, should the client desire my assistance. Just from this two line sentence, I’ve had clients contact me years later, wanting to work with me again. While I haven’t actually ever sat down to figure out how much extra income this has brought me, I believe the number is at least in the tens of thousands of dollars.
- Mention this at key points within the relationship. There will be points in the working relationship where you will have the opportunity to activate the customer to another level of engagement with your business. An example of this may be when your client is searching for a provider or resource in a particular arena, and you are able to provide this service as well. In this case, speak up. Most clients will appreciate the convenience of having additional services provided by someone they already trust.
- Periodically contact expired or ‘inactive’ customers. Touch base and see how they are, find out how their businesses are doing, or how their lives are going. Be sure to mention any new services or products you have that might be interesting to them. They might not need anything now, but staying in touch, regularly, increases the likelihood that they will think of you when they do need something.
- Keep adding services and skillsets to your business. The more services and skillsets you can provide in-house, the more money your clients are likely to spend with you. Being able to save clients time and money without sacrificing results is a way of providing huge value.
- Keep looking for related services and products you could add. Part of being a "resource for life" is staying focused on how many MORE ways you can provide value for your same clients. Your clients are continually evolving, and your business needs to do the same.
If you want to position your business for high repeat sales and lifetime customer loyalty, position yourself as a trusted advisor for life.
You’ll enjoy increased profitability, better relationships, and the increased satisfaction of knowing that your clients are being very well served.