How A/E/CM firms can increase business in a down economy

23 Apr, 2009 | by


There has never been a more important time than now to re-assess business development, sales and marketing programs to ensure your marketing focus is very selective. That’s best done by test marketing your service or product.

Major corporations never think about introducing a product without first testing it. Professional service organizations, on the other hand, never test market their services. They’ve been cruising on a development bubble for years and felt it wasn’t necessary. It is now.

There is a way to test market your services and respond directly to client needs with minimum marketing and business development costs while still increasing business.

You must begin with an unbiased audit of your present marketing and client retention programs. This is best accomplished by a seasoned, independent business development consultant. Once the audit has been done the consultant will have a clear understanding of exactly how you market your services, what your key people see as your strengths and weaknesses, how you see yourself in the marketplace and how you feel you are perceived by potential clients. This is the basic information you need to start the process of blending your present marketing and business development initiatives with client trends, past, present and future, into a marketing program that is so focused, so accurate and so successful that it never fails to increase business and profits.

A bold statement to be sure. You’re wondering….how is this done?

Part of the answer lies within your existing clients and your wish list of future ones. You just need to know exactly what they want and then carefully target those needs. . However, and this is most important, clients typically are reluctant to honestly assess your firm in person, but are more than willing to speak anonymously with a third party research firm.

How do you get this information? Simple…ask for it

The Process
You start with a letter that you then send it to a minimum of 20 or 30 former, existing and prospective clients. The letter informs them you commissioned an independent consultant to help you design and deliver services and improve quality control in order to serve them better.

Sample Letter
You may view an effective letter that gets the clients attention by clicking here: Effective Letter

The consultant must then interview each client and ask a series of questions. Since the questions are not attributed it allows them to speak freely. Then the consultant can analyze the information and prepare a comprehensive business development plan designed specifically for you. The plan will focus on precisely what clients are seeking and how they perceive your company. It will be a plan that really works.

Your consultant, now working with you, will be able to devise a solid plan that, when followed, will dramatically increase your business almost immediately.

You’ll likely gain additional benefits. Respondents often are so impressed you cared enough about their needs to commission the research that they willingly talk about pending new business opportunities that may have been earmarked for others. During these conversations, your consultant may also gather leads to new clients and business that will be passed along to you.

Traditional marketing, sales and business development efforts don’t increase business for service organizations during slow economies. Calling clients yourself only gives you a superficial view of what they have coming up. Attractive brochures, creative proposals and elaborate marketing massage your ego but rarely work when clients can choose between several highly competitive, similar organizations. However, uncovering in a third party, anonymous fashion exactly what potential clients want and how they make their decisions, allows you to prepare proposals and presentations that hit on every single need…work every time…and vault your service firm light years ahead of the competition.

This method dramatically increases your business and client base while allowing you to save incredible amounts of money that would simply be wasted by following traditional business development methods. Seriously, think about that…… Increasing business while saving costs… What a concept.It is simply the best way ever devised to increase business in a down economy.

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