Guerrilla Tactic Use Personalized Attention to Keep Clients

If you haven't already done so, consider adding personalized microsites to your Web site for specific clients. You can create a microsite using material customized for a client, and then provide the client with a unique URL to access the site. An alternative is to ask clients for space on their internal sites, or intranets, for posting that material.

Regularly update and add new information to these postings, such as recent data and reports on industry trends. Help your clients stay on top of recent industry developments by filtering and interpreting information and its relevance to their businesses.

the gist is to build strong relationships with key members of your clients' organizations and continuously provide outstanding results.

Anticipate that challengers will probe your strengths and weaknesses, and return the favor. Find out about them from your sources. Use your relationships and lines of communication within the client's organization to clarify why you have competitors and what they're up to.

In recent years, Master Service Agreements (MSAs) between incumbent consultants and their clients have become more common. In an MSA, a consultant agrees that specific terms and conditions will apply to all of a client's consulting projects; the client, in turn, designates the consultant as the "preferred provider" of services. The MSA takes a lot of pain out of the selling process for both client and consultant because the project rates, terms, and conditions are prenegotiated. With that out of the way, it takes only agreement between the client and the consultant on objectives, scope, staffing, and timing for a new project to begin.

Don't rely on MSAs to block competition. If clients believe that a competitor has a better solution to offer, such agreements can't stem the tide. When competing for a project, a challenger submitted a proposal for the work and a favorable MSA. The client accepted both, and the challenger is now in the hunt for every new project. Clients will switch to another consultant in a flash if they think a competitor can deliver better results, regardless of an MSA with the incumbent.

Know your client's business inside and out. Learn who in the company might want to hire consultants and what they are trying to

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