Growing Business From Existing Clients: Part Two

I’d never knock the need for a planned, active, program to secure new clients. I enthusiastically endorse that kind of effort and will post about it in the future.

But there are so many advantages to growing business from existing clients over that from clients one doesn’t yet have. I’m always surprised that many agency owners spend so much time pursuing the latter rather than doing the former.   

Getting more work from current clients should always be your first step in growing fee income. Here’s six reasons why:

  1. It’s More Profitable: The cost of pursuing new clients, while necessary, is expensive. If you track the hours you spend doing so, and I certainly hope that’s the case, you can see that it takes a considerable amount of time for a new account to be truly profitable. That’s due to the time it takes to get to know the client’s business issues, competitive framework, media landscape,  digital environment, key influencers, etc. But you and your team already know these critical factors as they relate to an existing client.
  2. You Know The Client From The Inside Out: You’ve got the face time. You’re already spending time with the client. You know what keeps them–and their bosses–up at night. You know the new markets they want to open, the areas in which they must keep the competitors at bay, and the categories in which they’d kill for half a share point.
  3. You Know The Clients From The Outside In:  There’s a certain amount of  knowledge you and your team get simply by working on the account, whether it’s from media, bloggers, influencers or external stakeholders. And it’s refreshed daily.  If you’re booking enough time on your calendar to simply think about the client’s business, these insights will no doubt will lead to ideas for new initiatives, new markets, and new executions. (Of course just thinking about this alone in your office isn’t enough. More about that in the future.)
  4. Your Clients Will Really Listen: During a competitive pitch, the potential client is likely listening to your ideas right before or immediately after having heard ideas from what might a be a large number of competitors. And despite your best efforts, many of their ideas may be similar to yours. Some a bit better, others a bit worse, but either way,  in a competitive pitch there’s a certain amount of “blur” factor.  But that’s not the case when you present new ideas to existing clients,  other than the non-solicited ideas your client is getting from agencies who’d love to have the account. And that’s an added reason to constantly supply new ideas to your clients. (That too is a post for another day.)
  5. The Trust Factor: Of course the main reason the client will listen to you is because the client trusts you, and that’s the heart and soul of any agency-client relationship. This is one of the biggest advantages in suggesting ideas to existing clients that you simply don’t have in a competitive pitch (unless, of course, you’re the incumbent.) It’s scary being a client. And few things are scarier than being presented with an idea that will cost $50,000, $100,000 or more.  But your past performance, results, superb execution and the trust you’ve earned over time will make it much easier for a client to write the big check.
  6. You’ll Nearly Always Get A Hearing: As I mentioned in Growing Business From Existing Clients Part One, it’s rare that a client will say “no” to “We’ve been thinking about your company/brand/situation and have generated some  business-building ideas for you. Want to discuss it over coffee?”

In the future, I’ll cover “Why growing client business organically isn’t optional,”  “Whose job is it to help grow client business?”  and “Ten Strategies to Grow Business From Existing Clients.”  In the meantime, I hope this has gotten you thinking more pro-actively about growing business from existing clients. What’s your first step going to be?

 

Ken Jacobs

I’m the principal of Jacobs Communications Consulting, which helps public relations and communications agencies and organizations grow and manage business, and enhance staff performance, leadership and communications skills.We do so via consulting, training, and coaching. To learn more, please click on the “Jacobs Communications Consulting” tab on the top.

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