How to Strategically Grow and Retain Your Best Clients

  Trying to get work in the door can be a challenging process for A&E firms, and many may be missing the easiest opportunity of all. Getting more work from existing clients! You may assume that your clients are giving you all the work they have, but what if they aren’t? What if they don’t even know everything your firm is capable of? Are Your Business Development Efforts Strategically Focused I frequently see business development effort focused on getting new business while ignoring the greatest asset the firm has – it’s existing clients. Research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company (the inventor of the net promoter score) shows increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. And it is well known that it can cost 5 to 10 times more to acquire a new client than it does to retain an existing one. While many A&E firms rate themselves as having excellent client relationships, the truth is that much of that is by accident. Only a small percentage of firms actually have a documented and strategic initiative to retain and grow … Continued

Are Your Clients Taking Advantage of You?

    In today’s post we’re sharing a podcast of an interview of June Jewell by STEVE GORDON on The Unstoppable CEO. >> Click HERE to listen   If you have a professional service firm… you can’t miss this one. Have you ever done a project and ended up making less than you estimated? Maybe even lost money? The project went off without a hitch. In fact, you over-delivered. It may be hard to believe… but that’s where you went wrong. June Jewell of AEC Business Solutions shares the dangers of “culture traps” that allow professional service firms, to flounder financially even while providing great service. June also shares a business model that gives your business a guaranteed income every month. Listen now and you’ll get straight talk from June about… When – and how – to turn down a client request Ways to guard against the dreaded scope creep How to make sure “technical” people keep profitability front of mind The training your team needs now that could save your business How to guard against the biggest “money drains” The importance of estimating – … Continued

Are You Blowing Through Yellow Lights?

  As we drive along the roads each day we make split second decisions. These decisions can have zero or life changing consequences, or anything in between. A cautionary yellow light can occur when driving slow or fast, far from the intersection or right in it. Once in a while we ignore the warning signal and blow through a “risky” yellow light and pray for the best. Yellow lights occur in your work and business every day. Your employees often make similar split second crucial decisions that impact the risk, profitability, and health of your organization without realizing it. This is because we don’t like to rock the boat, question our clients when they make a request, or even follow instructions that just don’t seem right. Very often it seems much easier to ignore these questionable situations – we don’t have time, we don’t want to appear untrusting. But we all know that a yellow light can turn red at any moment. Yellow lights in business come in many forms but all have something in common – they all have potential consequences that are unknown. … Continued

How To Gain A Competitive Advantage in Your AEE Firm – Part 4

This post is part 4 of a 6-part series analyzing marketing trends, technology, and the role of the marketer in an A&E firm. The previous three posts looked at the culture of an A&E firm and how it affects marketing success, trends in marketing and where A&E firms are struggling to keep up, and how technology can help you gain a competitive advantage. One of the aspects of the A&E culture that I write about in my recently published book, “Find the Lost Dollars: 6 Steps to Increase Profits in Architecture, Engineering and Environmental Firms,” is the disappointing way that marketing is looked at in the A&E firm. Rather than taking a strategic view of marketing expenses, and how they can help to grow the business, many firms view marketing expenses, and their marketing resources as a necessary cost of doing business. According to the Zweig White (now Zweig Group) 2012 Annual Marketing Survey of A&E Firms, the top performing firms spend between 12% to 15% of their revenue on marketing, yet the average firm spends 7% or less of their revenue on marketing, and during … Continued

Improve Marketing Results with Marketing Technology – Part 3

This week’s post is focused on marketing technology as a way to improve marketing results and the win rate in A&E firms. In Part 1 of this 6-part series, I wrote about the culture in A&E firms that does not value marketing resources, and in Part 2 we looked at trends in marketing driven by economics and technology. In this post, we will look specifically at technology as a driving force in A&E marketing, and how it can be used as a competitive advantage. With the cultural issues we identified, it is easy to see that there is much room for improvement, and even more room for firms that are more advanced to take the lead in their specific areas. The trend towards global competition means that you now have to be smarter, and more technically capable than firms all over the world, not just in your back yard. Client Relationship Management (CRM) By now most of you have heard of CRM systems, and according to the ZweigWhite 2012 Annual Marketing Survey, many of you (69%) are using some form of it, and 53% of … Continued