Professional services firms face an increasingly challenging landscape within which to offer their services. Today’s professional services buyer is often more savvy, and increasingly interested not only in the highest quality of service, but also an experience of connection that fosters brand loyalty. Add to this the proliferation of professional services firms in many market segments, and you have a recipe for high-stakes market competition.
Despite these factors, there are ways that professional services firms can stand out from the crowd and grow revenue. Here are five growth strategies with a strong success rate in pumping up profit margins:
1. Know your customer.
Who is your ideal client?
Most professional services firms have an idea of the demographic of their ideal client. Take a financial services firm, for example. Their ideal client base may be professionals, upper-middle class, college educated, between the ages of 40 and 60. While these demographics are certainly useful, they only scratch the surface of what business owners need to know about their ideal clients.
Beyond the world of demographics lies psychographics. These data points give us insight not just into how much money a person makes or what age they are, but into how they think, what they struggle with, and, most importantly, what they want.
And when you know what your ideal client wants, you can gear your marketing towards that. Aligning your services and your marketing with what matters most to your ideal clients is a key component of a sound revenue growth strategy.
2. Cultivate existing client relationships.
It may not seem like keeping your existing clients is a growth strategy, and while retention of your customer base is generally a good thing, if you leave it at that you’re selling yourself — and your profits — short.
The truth of the matter is, your existing clients are a gold mine of opportunity for cross-selling. They already know you. They’ve already purchased from you. And, if you’ve cultivated the relationship, they already like you.
For your part, there’s a lot you already know about them. Again, if you’ve cultivated the relationship you know about their personality, their style, what interests them, perhaps a bit about their family. This relationship creates the ideal circumstances for you to leverage a consultative sales approach—one where you genuinely listen and offer not just an up sale but a valuable solution that fits their needs and their lifestyle.
3. Create a compelling brand that attracts through thought leadership.
Cultivating existing relationships helps with retention and cross-selling, but it doesn’t directly address the need to expand your market share by attracting new clients. Since this growth strategy involves gaining the attention of and engaging with a new market, what is needed is a consistent, compelling brand story that showcases your professional services firm as the leader in your industry.
When you strengthen your brand identity, you begin to establish your firm as the go-to expert in your field. By sharing knowledge and building your visibility, you boost your position as a trusted and innovative leader, and this can be leveraged by a thoughtful and strategic marketing campaign to make inroads into new markets for increased revenue.
4. Forge strategic partnerships.
Whatever professional service your firm specializes in, there are most likely a few complementary services which are frequently utilized by your customers. For example, if you own a construction company, many of your clients will also seek the services of an architect, or an electrician, or an interior designer. These businesses offer services which work in tandem with yours, and it makes sense for you to form strategic partnerships with companies you’ve vetted for quality service.
In addition to being a mutual source of referrals for you and your partner, you also have the opportunity to add value to your clients’ experience with you by providing them with an insider’s knowledge of companies they can approach with confidence based on your recommendation.
5. Leverage expert support.
It can be tempting, especially in small to mid-sized businesses, to want to do everything on your own. But as surely as you specialize in your field, there are professionals who specialize in the essential services that will help you grow your business. These often include your CPA, legal services, and possibly a business consultant or developer. If you want to grow your revenue, consider the ROI that comes with consulting experts who can help you successfully plan and implement your business development strategy.
Building the revenue of your professional services firm does not have to be daunting or expensive. By taking the time to really understand your customer and gear your offerings and marketing accordingly, cultivating existing relationships for retention and cross-selling opportunities, attracting new business with a compelling brand and thought leadership, forming strategic alliances with complementary businesses, and leveraging the support of experts like your small business CPA firm, you can be well on your way to the revenue growth you desire.