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Where is the value in what you offer?

2011 February 22
by Malcolm Sleath

Many approaches to building a profitable practice focus on controlling costs, maintaining the proportion of time earning fees (utilisation) and so on. Of course it is essential to manage each of these things – failure to do so will result in having no practice at all. They are necessary, but not sufficient.

To achieve sustainable profitability and growth, individuals and firms offering professional services and expertise need to achieve the ‘three Rs’: repeat business, referrals and realistic rewards from fees.

Most professional service firms act on the assumption that if they achieve client satisfaction the three Rs will naturally follow. But ‘satisfied’ clients are not enough. There is evidence that clients have to be ‘highly satisfied’ before they will deliver the three Rs.

Not only that, client satisfaction does not automatically follow from good work and good service; it depends on how the client perceives value – and every client is different in that respect. For example, it is easy for us to assume that if we offer to help people improve their business development skills the only important outputs are increased sales and profitability. But everyone offers that don’t they? The following testimonial from a participant in our pilot programme for 12boxes in 12 hours shows that it is not only money that drives people…

Joanne Jacobs likes 12boxes

From what Joanne is saying, it seems that professional life is just as much about enjoying a rich learning experience as it is about doing the work and making money. This may well be the source of the energy and drive that has resulted in her being one of the most influential people in her field.

What drives your clients? What is the spark that will ignite interest in what you do and provide the energy which they bring to your professional relationship?

If you would like to explore how you can relate to your clients in a way that taps into what they really value, you might like to find out more about the 12boxes value conversation in a workshop to be held in central London on the evening of March 1st – just a week away. More about ’12boxes in 2 hours’.