"David," my client asked, "How do we increase of volume? We've been struggling ever since we lost that one big account."
This is such a common situation for a professional services firm to deal with - a painful need to quickly grow revenues. Considering that for most professional services firm, whether they be a law firm, a consulting group, or a medical practice, they have a high fixed overhead, primarily due to the cost of their well-educated, expensive workforce.
Here are my four favorite "go to" strategies to quickly increase the sales volume of your firm. These ideas have been validated in the businesses of hundreds of our business coaching clients.
1. A formalized "reactivation" system. The simplest sale is usually the former client who already bought from you in the past. You need a reliable process wherein you pull a list of your former clients, and in a systematic way reach out to them to spark them to start working with you again.
One dental group we coached reached out to 100-300 former patients each month who hadn't been in to get their bi-annual cleaning and exam in at least 9 months. They "reactivated" 25 percent of the former patients they reached by phone.
My company, Maui Mastermind invites former clients to be a guest at one of our quarterly workshops for business owners. When they come, they get around the community of business owners again, and pick up new ideas to grow their companies, and many of them reactivate as a client.
They key is you need a formal system to regularly reach out to your former clients, be it by mail, email, phone, or even an in-person visit. If you make this an impromptu, one-off tactic you'll forget to do it. The real value to your firm is operationalizing it so that it happens like clockwork, each month or quarter or year.
2. A formalized "referral" system. I'm not talking about passively waiting for a client to refer you business, but rather an active, systematized process wherein you spark your clients to bring you more clients.
One medical group we coach does a quarterly free cancer screening exclusively for the friends and family of its patients. This one system reliably generates 40-50 new patients for their practice.
3. Formalized cross-marketing efforts. I think you're seeing the theme here. To avoid the "feast or famine" cycle of binges of too much client work during which you feel too busy to keep your marketing and business development work going, followed by dry spells of not enough work during which you have to scramble to find more business, you need to get some base level of your marketing efforts to be ongoing. Ideally you do this by systematizing them so that a lower level staff member (versus your most expensive professional staff) can do most or all of these activities on a consistent basis.
With a formalized cross-marketing campaign you create a clear offer to sell a complimentary service to your existing clients.
For example, if you run an engineering company that specializes in commercial construction projects you could also add on construction management services too.
A multi-disciplinary medical group we coach has its medical staff ask patients who fit a specific profile to schedule a colonoscopy with their GI office.
What other services or products do your customers go on to buy that you could profitably add to your offering, either by bundling them together or by selling them ala carte?
4. Raise your prices. I saved this one for last because it's my favorite fast path to increasing sales.
When was the last time you strategically looked at your pricing? One law firm we worked with increased their billing rate for their paralegal staff by 20 percent which increased the firms overall profitability by several hundred thousand dollars a year.
A bariatric surgery group we work with effectively raised pricing by reducing the number of Medicare and in-network insurance cases it would take each month, freeing up space to take on private pay and out of network payer cases which paid 500 percent more for the same procedure.
Raising prices is often the fastest way to increase sales, especially if you are running a high value, high intimacy firm that has deep client relationships but for some reason is still trying to compete on price.
If you enjoyed the ideas I shared, then I encourage you to download a free copy of my newest book, Build a Business, Not a Job. Click here for full details and to get your complimentary copy.