If you’re like most service professionals, you offer reactive service. You wait for clients to call with a problem. You respond with a solution. Then you wait for the next time a client calls.
As business models go, this one is difficult to scale. Because your growth is completely dependent on other people. And when business is slow there’s little more you can do than hold out until it picks up again, which makes your bottom line look like a roller coaster.
I don’t know about you, but roller coasters stress me out.
You can stabilize your revenues by offering proactive service. Something that brings a new opportunity to your clients’ attention and requires more of your expertise. Here are 3 examples:
- A Los Angeles corporate attorney offers a legal SWOT analysis to his top clients. He schedules a few hours with the executive team (which he does not bill) and takes them through the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats they face from a legal perspective. The process provides his clients with new insights on how they can grow and avoid risk, while my attorney friend walks away with new legal matters to work on, most of which would not have come his way if he hadn’t offered the SWOT.
- A CPA in the San Fernando Valley schedules 30 minutes with all his corporate clients for quarterly tax planning. During this billable session, he looks for ways to save his clients money in the near term, and has more opportunities to upsell his other services or ask for referrals. The strategy is helping to stabilize his revenues between tax seasons.
- A consultant set up an advisory board for his small business clients. Every 6 months he holds a “summit” with them and brainstorms ways to forward their priorities, either with an introduction or a piece of information. He gets face time with his best clients because the agenda for those meetings consists of their priorities, not his. The result: loyal clients who actively refer others for the same kind of hands-on attention.
Chances are you don’t offer a lot of proactive services. Most of your competitors don’t either, and that’s another reason to put them in place.
So by all means, answer the phone when it rings. But when it doesn’t, pick it up and tell your clients about a unique service that isn’t predicated on an emergency. Something productive for them, and proactive for you.