Developments That Create A Business Survival Risk
The most serious survival risk to your business is a reduced demand for services. If fewer clients want or need your services, your business won’t survive.
Defensive marketing is the best response to these risks. These strategies are intended to protect a client base from survival-threatening developments.
Defensive Marketing aka Circle The Wagons
Among the many trends that impact our businesses are those new services and service-providers that challenge our market position. In many cases they offer an alternative in the form of better quality, lower price, or some other unique service feature. Without a strong response, some clients will choose the new alternative instead of maintaining an existing relationship with an established professional.
Given this need for a strong response, what actions are best?
Remember those classic western movies that included attacks on wagon trains? At the first sign of an attack, the wagon-master shouted the order to circle the wagons. And as quickly as possible, the drivers managed to get their wagons in circle formation, protecting people and horses within the circle.
When faced with a survival risk, circling the wagons offers a useful lesson: first and foremost protect your valuable assets. As a self-employed professional, your client base is you most vulnerable asset in need of the greatest protection. This means enhancing enriching and otherwise protecting existing relationships with clients.
If you are not already doing so, start a keep-in-touch program. In addition to keeping our name before clients and contacts at a critical time, this program can help monitor shifting trends and new developments in the market.
Properly prepared and executed, keeping in touch will be an invaluable resource in protecting a clients base from erosion.
Resist That Survival Risk
Having done what you can to protect existing client relationships, the next action is a vigorous response to the threat. Whatever the response, there are two key elements to keep in mind.
The first thing to remember is to keep potential losses to a minimum.
Even though a new competitor or service may cost less than yours, it’s counter-productive to engage in a price war. Why risk making a potentially harmful situation worse?
Second, instead of launching an all out assault against whatever threat you face, try to leverage existing client relationships into stronger defensive tools.
Adding value to services is better than reducing prices. Part of this action involves helping clients understand the increased benefits that they will enjoy for the same pricing structure. Happily, this educational process will also help enhance existing relationships with clients.
Not only will adding value to services enhance and protect existing relationships, it can also contribute to the generation of more new business. Invariably added value increases client satisfaction. And satisfied clients are major sources of repeat and referral business.
What a great payoff for actions intended resist a survival risk: generating new business while at the same time protecting your client base from threatened erosion.
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Of these four trends, ignoring numbers 1-3 could lead to a reduced demand for services.
Ignoring trend number 4 could lead to reductions in both operational efficiency and the delivery of services.
4 future professional services marketing trends:
- Counselor vs Technician
- Even More Automation