Winning new business is tough. Prospects can to be difficult to find, unwilling to commit, and often have a list of up-front demands that are just impossible to meet. Factor in the considerable competition in the market and, well, you may have a serious business development issue at hand!
Time for “extraordinary” measures: giving something extra.
Business development is a process of wooing, winning and wowing clients. If you find yourself wooing with little winning, the consequences on your business can be very dire. Without an adequate volume of new business wins, your business is likely to suffer.
Giving something extra is a strategic method of keeping clients happy and committed. Extra does not mean promising discounts that will eat into your margin. Extra does not mean adjusting fee schedules for future assignments.
Instead, think about these extras that will not weaken your bottom line yet can mean the difference between winning and losing a client:
Hitting deadlines…and more!
Many projects have a clearly defined timeline, often laid out before any work begins. Understandably so, clients are extremely concerned that project deadlines will be met. A strong “value add”—the extra—is not just hitting the deadline but committing to meeting it early. Completing work before it is due brings the client peace of mind and confidence, both of which are important when it comes to awarding new business.
Additional “no fee” work
Clients are often asked to pay an extra fee if they make revisions to any work that has been submitted. This is especially true in creative services such as advertising and design, where changes to copy or graphics might initiate additional expenses. Consider throwing in a round of reasonable revisions at no charge as part of the proposal, and see if that can help influence the prospect’s decision.
Don’t “nickel and dime”
A common complaint raised by clients is that they feel they are being “nickel and dimed” for minor, inconsequential line items. Build everything into your fee and absorb certain expenses such as FedEx or travel time. Clients will appreciate your magnanimous gesture, and it will add little to the expense of the project. If the client is buying a tangible product, provide them with an overrun at no cost. The additional expense to you is minimal, the appreciation from the client is great.
Provide heightened support
Your own staffing, in addition to the quality of work, may determine whether a prospect commits to you. Offer the client a robust account management team to monitor their work, giving them the assurance that they will not experience delays or issues related to illness or absenteeism.
It doesn’t take much to be “extraordinary,” and it goes without saying that the new client win will more than offset any additional expense.