OK. It’s January. Almost February. And, if you’re like many advisors, visions of lofty goals for growing your practice in 2015 are still dancing in your head like sugarplum fairies were in December, right?
In this post, I’d like to share three basic opportunities that, if used properly, can really help you grow your practice.
I’ll explain each and show you how, synergistically, addressing each of these factors can create exponential growth for your practice.
Here’s a simple fact: growing your practice means generating more clients. The more clients you have, the more revenue you’ll enjoy. Pretty simple, right?
What isn’t always so obvious, however is that generating a client is merely a symptom of doing enough of certain behaviors often enough and well enough that a client results.
Some people like to refer to this as ‘How Much’ and ‘What Kind’. That means referring to your ‘cookbook’ of key behaviors that are required to generate a client.
Personally, I advise clients to consider the following key activities:
SEEN . . . are your face-to-face meetings with qualified individuals who are meeting with you to discuss a challenge or opportunity you are in a position to help them fix or achieve.
FACTS . . . refer to the information you need from a prospective client to determine if they need something you can provide, has a budget that you can both afford to work with and a commitment to ‘do something’ in the reasonably near future.
OPEN CASE . . . happens when you have obtained sufficient information to determine that a problem exists that is addressable, a budget is available and adequate, and a presentation is ready to deliver.
DECISION . . . is the kind of meeting you have with a prospect to discuss your presentation and seek a decision to either act on it or, not.
CLIENT . . . is the natural result of successfully moving through each of the above gateways.
The bigger picture issue here is this . . . there are certain ratios between these factors in what some call a revenue pipeline. The specific ratios vary for each of us. But tracking ‘How Much’ and ‘What Kind’ of activity is needed in one area to proceed to the next one allows you to predict the ultimate results (i.e. clients) you’re likely to generate if you do these activities.
A quick example. If you track your activities and you learn that you require:
3 Decision Meetings to generate 1 client transaction,
2 Open Cases to generate 1 Decision Meeting,
3 Facts to generate 1 Open Case, and
2 Seen to generate 1 new or updated Facts from someone you meet
THEN . . . to produce one (1) new client transaction, you’ll need:
3 Decision Meetings
6 Open Cases
18 Facts, and
The above formula identifies HOW MUCH and WHAT KIND of activity you need to generate a client transaction. It doesn’t explain how you generate these activities (that’s a different topic and a different post!).
Once you know your numbers, multiply them by the number of client transactions your annual plan requires and you’ll know How Much and What Kind of activities you’ll need to produce the number of transactions your revenue goals suggest.
When you do business with someone, what, on the average, is the size of the transaction? That’s the value, to you, of each client transaction. This is your A. C. T. or, ‘Average Client Transaction’.
If your A.C.T. is $5,000 and a competitor’s A.C.T. is $10,000, if your Cookbook ratios and behaviors are the same, you’ll make half as much as your competitor.
The implication I’d like you to take away is simple. Find ways to increase your value per transaction. If your cookbook numbers don’t change at all, you’ll still end up generating more revenues.
This requires more thinking and less sweat than you might think. Take McDonald’s. By simply asking, “You want fries with your order?”, they added billions of dollars their bottom line by boosting their average customer transaction. It’s more about looking for overlooked but appropriate ways to up-sell and cross-sell than anything else!
A third key to increased revenues is to generate buying and selling opportunities more often than you are now.
If you’re providing a professional service, you may be thinking, “I don’t use coupons or anything like that”. True. But increasing the frequency of opportunities to think about using your services is actually pretty easy to do.
Most professional service providers are reactive, not pro-active. They wait for clients to present them with a need for the problem-solving expertise and services the professional provides.
The problem with this approach is that those same professionals are doing little (my apologies if you’re the exception) to give their clients and prospects a good reason to ‘raise their hands and ask for assistance’.
Assuming you provide a client-letter, do you invite response from your readers? If not, you should! How? Add a mini-case study and include a call-to-action. This alone will easily generate inquiries from people who ‘discover’ they have the problem your case-study reveals and . . . you’ll generate more revenues for services you can render.
Poor communications = poor revenues. The opposite is true, too. Think about it!
In my next post, I’ll reveal a simple matrix that will show you how easily a little improvement, across the board, can have significant and positive impact on your practice growth for 2015. Stay tuned!
Growth comes from knowing your numbers, realizing more value and generating more opportunities
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