Grow your firm by helping clients to switch to you may sound like a simple statement of obvious advice. It’s not because, as the research amongst clients of professional services firms summarised in this post shows, you need to know how to do this to maximise the probability of being successful.
First let’s get something straight. Our most recent, 2020, research shows price is a rare reason for clients switching between firms.
Price is a rare reason for switching
Clients seldom switch to or from a firm for reasons of price. The facts on the role played by price have been demonstrated enough times by beaton’s work for them to be true, i.e. the test re-test reliability of the research is very high.
As an example, the chart above tells the story of the responses of clients of built environment and consulting engineering (BECE) firms in Australia.
The table below shows all professions we measure in Australia and New Zealand. Here's the full rundown of the frequency with which clients gave for switching away from a firm (first column) and switching to their current firm (second column). A telling difference emerges – confirmation of the trend to discounting, most evident in Law in New Zealand.
For readers not familiar with our work, please note of a few key features of the beatonbenchmarks research behind these findings. Respondents are Australian and New Zealand users and buyers of professional services listed in the table above. Each year – the study has been going for more than a 15 years – 1,000s of individual respondents in each profession provide their views in confidence. Those giving their reasons for switching are qualified by having indicated they switched their primary provider in the last 24 months.
So, what are the most frequent reasons for switching to and from a provider that are under the direct control of the firm and its people?
Main controllable reasons clients switch to another firm
While there are innumerable, often idiosyncratic, reasons for choosing another provider, the most frequent explanations over which you as a firm have control are:
Plain and simple, prospects respond very well to passion, enthusiasm, effort – and what you offer. Being meticulously mechanical doesn’t get you as far as you can go.
Price generally comes a poor second.
Main controllable reasons clients switch away from a firm
There is a range of controllable reasons clients decide to switch away from a firm, including Dissatisfied with the performance and service of the previous firm and Poor advice / outcome(s) from the previous firm.
Reasons beyond the control of the firm
You can’t win ‘em all. There are a legion of things that neither the firm nor its people can do much about, such as The nature of my organisation’s requirements changed, Decisions of others, I moved organisations, and We were advised by a third party.
You can grow your firm by helping clients to switch to you
The evidence is clear. Grow by identifying prospects with needs suited to your firm’s repertoire and be creative and persistent in letting them know you want to serve them. Chances are, you’ll win their work.
Equally, don’t let the competition do this to you. Never, ever give your clients reason to be dissatisfied. Know what drives their perceptions of value. And deliver on every project, every day. And, as humans do, if you make a mistake, let the client know immediately, fix it – and learn from it. Cut of all grounds for complaint before the client has cause to voice their views to others.
Growing your firm by helping clients to switch to you is that simple – and that hard. The rewards are big and satisfying…
Interested in knowing more about this and related subjects?
Readers interested in details of beaton's surveys are encouraged to contact a member of the beaton client service team.
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