Identify Your Ideal Clients
Not all clients are ideal. The Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, states that for many events roughly 80% of the effect comes from just 20% of the causes. In our case that translates to: “80% of your revenues come from just 20% of your clients”.
Not only have I found the Pareto principle to be true, I’ve also found that it works in reverse too. The worst 20% of our clients seem to monopolize 80% of our unbillable time doing account service, quoting projects that never reach fruition, and resending statements dealing with accounts payable.
You can free up so much energy and drive up your profit margin and overall revenues by identifying which of your clients are the 20%. We did this by creating a list of criteria we feel is important in a client, and we then rated each and every client on those criteria.
Find Opportunities with Existing Clients
Once you know who your top clients are, it’s time to do more work with them! You know how to almost guarantee more work from a client? Talk to them. Often.
That’s right, there’s no secret strategy – if you don’t ever talk to a client there’s a good chance they won’t talk to you either. Out of sight out of mind. So pick up the phone and give them a call. Take them to lunch or out for coffee and ask them about their recent challenges. What has been bugging them, what problems do they have?
When we do this we often find creative solutions to those problems naturally. We aren’t “selling” them anything, we’re just trying to help them find solutions to issues they are experiencing.
Find Other Clients with Those Same Problems
So you’ve found several opportunities with existing clients, and solved them. Don’t stop there … if they had that problem there’s a good chance other companies have, too. They are your ideal client (top 20%, remember?) so find some other clients like them with the same problem, and resell that solution.
They don’t have to be competitors, or even in the same industry. Often times it will be a problem entire categories face (service companies, for instance). Seek out other companies with those issues, and offer your expertise.
We do this often with our existing clients, and it has led to both small and extremely large projects, and to new clients as well. Give it a try with one of your clients and let us know how it works out!