Written by Anna Lake
Have you heard of the marketing ‘flywheel’? It’s a concept devised by the digital marketing giant Hubspot that illustrates the importance of placing your clients at the centre of your marketing activity. It is a stark contrast to the traditional marketing ‘funnel’ where the client pops out as a result of sales and marketing activity before being largely forgotten about until it’s time to re-purchase or renew.
The flywheel approach has many benefits, not least because it supports my mantra of ‘happy clients buy more, stay with you longer and recommend you to others’. This means free marketing as your clients advocate for you and you need to invest less in generating new leads.
So, in order to identify your happy clients and advocates, you need to listen to them throughout all stages of the flywheel. Prospects will be more attracted to firms who listen to their clients and act on what they’ve heard. So, why not leverage client insight to draw new contacts in? You could try talking about your approach to client care to your prospects – many buyers of professional services place experience ahead of technical excellence (which is usually a given) and even price when appointing new advisers.
When the relationship is relatively new:
It’s a good idea to check in and see how they found the onboarding process and whether you have the right team in place in terms of technical experience and personality fit (the latter is often overlooked but can make or break client engagement).
When your client is embedded and the work is underway:
It’s worth making contact again to make sure you’re delivering what you promised at the start of the engagement and to identify any niggles or misunderstandings at an early stage.
When a relationship is well established:
It’s so important not to fall into the apathy trap of assuming everything’s okay just because you haven’t heard otherwise. Clients value the investment you make in seeking their opinion. A law firm client I recently interviewed said “they don’t just sit back on their laurels and think ‘oh everything’s okay’, because that’s where things can go a bit sour”. That quote is from a very happy client, so imagine how important it is to speak to the more challenging clients too!
Professional services are now part of the ‘experience’ economy – buyers of your service want an excellent experience and are often willing to pay a premium for it. You need to know what your clients are thinking and feeling, and regular, structured client listening throughout each stage of the flywheel can help you to find out.