We provide marketing and public relations services to a successful regional consulting firm. One of the partners has been a key rainmaker and a driving force in the firm’s business development and growth. We asked him to what he attributes his rainmaking success. His response was that he jumps on things and gets answers right away, whether it’s for a prospect or a current client. In other words, he’s responsive.
Here’s an example he provided. The day after he met with a prospective client who sought a joint venture partner, he got right to work and began contacting potential partners and referral sources throughout California. Within 24 hours, he was ready for his second meeting with the prospective client to outline the options he’d come up with.
From a marketing and business development perspective, what struck me about this rainmaker’s response was that it was very specific. We often ask our clients—attorneys, CPAs and other professional services providers—what differentiates them from other firms. The response is usually that “we provide good service” or “we care about our clients,” or even that “we’re responsive.” While some of this consultant’s competitors may couch their points of differentiation in generic terms, our client expressed his responsiveness clearly and provided specific examples. I’d bet that this clear articulation contributed to his success as much as what he actually did.
His response was a terrific reminder not only of the need to provide responsive service, but that it’s critical to dig beneath the surface of “good service” or “caring about clients.” When working with professional service firms on enhancing their marketing, we dig deeper when we get these vague responses. What specifically do you do that shows you’re responsive? What specific actions do you take that demonstrate caring? It’s the answers to questions like these that enable firms to communicate their differentiation.