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Why does it seem that our clients (and prospects) too often take the advice of '70s rock stars when selecting their professional services providers? Perhaps the following story will shed some light.

I Just Awarded That Assignment…

I recently conducted customer research for a client of mine on how often his clients wish to be contacted by their professional service providers. Like most professionals, my client's hypothesis was that his past clients would simply call when they have more work. Like many professional service providers, his assumption was that to contact past clients too often would be an intrusion, an imposition and (worst of all) unprofessional.

As a result, he was following the once-a-year(-or-less) approach to "staying in touch."

My findings, in keeping with what we have witnessed time and time again, can be summarized this way: Almost no service providers contact their current or past clients too often. In fact, it is difficult to do.

A typical conversation with past clients of my client would go something like this:

John Doerr: I am calling for Smith & Jones. Bill Smith did some work for you in the past and I am looking to find out the best ways for him to keep in touch with you in order to stay top of mind.

Client of my Client: How is Bill? I remember the work he did for us. Oh gee, it's been over a year now. How time flies. His approach was so unlike anything we usually get. He was thoughtful, asked great questions, and actually changed what we were looking for. In the end, his suggestions made a huge difference for us.

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image of John Doerr

John Doerr is principal of the Wellesley Hills Group (www.whillsgroup.com), a consulting and marketing services firm that helps service companies to grow. John can be reached at jdoerr@whillsgroup.com.