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Client relationship scenarios described by senior practitioners in professional service firms

We are on a panel, but there is no work coming our way...

Q “A long standing insurance client has ‘pigeon-holed’ us as specialists in dealing with financial service related matters. However, we could offer them a far wider range of services and I am particularly interested in doing construction related work for them where there seems to be a lot of work on at the moment. I am to give them a seminar on the topic soon. How do I get the relationship beyond the pigeon hole? How do I get to a position that they will be happy to provide us with construction related instructions?”

A The good thing is that you have a strong relationship to start with but it is not necessarily an easy thing to persuade existing clients that they should give you work of a different discipline without demonstrating obvious benefits to them of using you as opposed to their current advisers in that area. What’s in it for them to use you?

The seminar is a good start as that is gong to help increase your client’s understanding of exactly what you do in relation to construction work and your level of expertise. But also use the opportunity to build in messages about the way you already work for the client which would be of benefit to them in relation to the construction work e.g. the make up of the team, efficiency, style of communication/reporting, etc, track record of very commercial results? Demonstration of great results achieved for other clients by way of specific examples will be particularly persuasive. This should be the start of a steady touchpoint campaign, providing valuable information, know how, etc re construction issues to earn respect for your expertise and trust that you have their best interests at heart in wanting to do this additional work for them.

You could potentially save a lot of time by asking a good contact at the client how strong the relationship with the existing construction advisers and what you would have to do to be regarded as good alternative advisers. A polite but direct question could get a very illuminating answer and save valuable time.

NEXT: The client is being sold...