- Treat your customer’s business as your own.
Your time is their money so be efficient.
Many agencies use heavily designed presentations to report results or recommend strategies then bill the client thousands of dollars for design services. I typically supply these items in simple but detailed Word documents at no extra charge.
Additionally, in the event that there is a miscommunication, leading to either work done incorrectly or outside of scope, I swallow the cost of the extra work. I consider this an investment in our relationship and a learning experience.
- Build and maintain a great network.
This will help you generate new business opportunities.When the Great Recession hit several years back, many of my client contacts were laid off. I devoted several hours each week to help place talented PR and marketing professionals in new positions. While this support was offered out of genuine concern for my colleagues, it has paid dividends with several new business opportunities coming from these past clients and colleagues.
Additionally, many of my former team members remain friendly and in contact as part of my business community. Some of my best client referrals have come from past employees.
- Invest wisely.
Avoid the temptation to overspend on luxury items, like office space, and try handling administrative tasks yourself if you are comfortable doing so. Look for opportunities to share the cost of tools and services. For example, I share a group subscription to databases and research services, which saves me hundreds of dollars each month.
- Build strategic alliances.
This can expand the scope of your services and help keep you going even when your core avenue of business is slow.
For example, we’ve brought in market research, video production, legal counsel, social media analytics and other firms or consultants to help clients or deliver on a project. ICCC doesn’t charge for coordinating these services. Helping to provide these suppliers means clients know they can count on us beyond our core competencies, and it also helps us market to bigger competition.
- Offer something before asking for something.
Educate your existing and prospective client base through activities, such as blogging and public speaking to build trust.
Name of Author: Ivy Cohen