In todayís economy, many smaller companies are feeling the pressure to maintain their viability with clients and the overall success of their organization. Even established firms are feeling the increased competition and looking for ways to ensure their position moving forward. The following eight items offer a succinct strategy for organizations to continue generating revenue, both by promoting client growth and putting into place an overall framework to optimize their industry position.
1. Donít give up on prospects.
A familiar chart for salespersons drives home the necessity of perseverance in pitching for potential clients. It notes that most sales occur after more than four separate contacts, while most companies give up after one or two. Until you get an absolute "no," you should continue to provide proposals, timelines and other pitching documents, and show your prospects how much you really want to work for them.
2. Keep your current clients.
Of course, itís easier to keep a client than find a new one. You need to remain attentive to your clientís needs, meeting with them on a regular basis. I prefer scheduling a monthly lunch meeting, providing gourmet sandwiches, thus fostering an atmosphere of mutual enjoyment and collaboration.
3. Learn cross-disciplinary talents.
Almost every industry has an online component, and thatís a good place to start learning. In fact, you should always keep up to date with the latest developments in your field, perhaps by subscribing to an online magazine or finding another source of reliable information.
4. Donít undersell yourself.
Donít over-compromise on price. Itís not worthwhile to get tied up with a client who is not able to afford your services or recognize your true value. You are better off spending the extra time finding someone who is.
5. Empower your colleagues and clients.
Many of your skills may be easily teachable to others. Itís worthwhile to do so, even though this may seem counterintuitive. Not only can it result in unexpected opportunities in the future, itís just a better way to live by sharing your discoveries and insights with others.
6. Deliver honest advice.
Sometimes, you will find yourself in a position where one of your business partners is heading down the wrong path, or there is difficult information or bad news. People appreciate honest advice, especially if it is against your interest, and will ultimately reward you for it.
7. Use your client skills on your own company.
Itís always good to practice what you preach. Even if your time is limited, you should always try out your advice for others for yourself first. You may discover additional nuances and/or discard some of the components after an internal trial run.
8. Keep your client list and vendors confidential.
This is one of the few items where conventional impressions apply. Because of the increase in competition, itís important to keep your current client list to yourself as well as contact information for your vendors. Clients may wish to deal with your vendors directly, but that could easily leave you out in the cold.
The items above provide a useful operational and philosophical framework to maintain a successful business. Try them out Ė they work!