One KPI That Really Counts
When looking to grow your professional services business, the one KPI that really counts is the number of meetings you have with clients and prospects. Sure, there might be lots of supporting activities that also need to be measured, but after years of working with firms from all walks of life, I am convinced that the most important KPI to drive your business performance is meetings.
It’s true there ae a number of KPIs critical to monitor in your business to achieve peak performance and profitability. However, when you look at most of these KPIs they assume you already have client work to produce.
At the other end of the scale, there are certainly KPIs important to measure to generate leads, but these are measures of activity opportunities to explore with clients and prospects.
Where it counts is where you get in front of someone and explore the potential to do work, come back with recommendations and options and get sign off. This process can be a series of meetings (face to face, by video, or over the phone), but nonetheless meetings.
So how do you increase the number of meetings with clients and prospects? Let’s take a closer look.
One of the best ways to increase the number of meetings with existing clients is to plan your activity first. The beginning of the financial year is an ideal time to do it , but any time is better than not doing it at all.
Whether you’re organised enough to plan your activity 12 months out or whether you do it on the back of completing a client’s annual compliance work, the key is to identify the hidden potential that may exist with that client.
A great exercise I encourage all of my clients to undertake is an annual review of the work they completed for their clients last year, how much revenue they generated, how much time it took, and what they ultimately recovered (in terms of Average Hourly Rate – another important KPI). From there, review each client and ask yourself “What else could this client benefit from?” The answer may be nothing in which case move on to the next one. You might think of one or two things to raise with the client. Involve the wider team in this exercise and I’m confident you’ll find more than one thing you could explore with your clients.
After identifying all the additional opportunities within your client base, determine a possible fee for each service. You might not know what to charge or how long it’ll take but start with a benchmark AHR you want to recover for this new work. Keep in mind you won’t be charging based on time, but rather based on the value and benefit you can deliver to the client. This is a discussion for another time.
Now that you’ve done your client review, prioritise your list in terms of greatest potential and start booking in meetings. You’ll need to be organised, and disciplined with this process or it simply won’t happen. It’s that simple!
One more thing, remember that you already have a relationship with clients so they will be way more open to hearing from you than prospects so start here and maximise all the potential. It’s a great confidence booster!
Prospects are a little harder to convince to give you the opportunity to help them. Why? They have a relationship with another accountant (whether good or bad) and they don’t know you or trust you. So, with finding prospects there are a number of activities you need to undertake to generate a meeting.
- Define the type of prospects you want to attract to your business – I’ll cover this off in a future article
- Make a list of suspects – potential targets to approach – again this is about list building and there are a number of ways to do that so I’ll dedicate an article just on those tactics
- Determine the best approach method for your targets – this might be direct mail, networking, attending conferences, aligning with industry associations or special interest groups, or even cold calling (not for the feint hearted!)
- Determine your objective for the initial contact
- Package up some value for the prospect to benefit from immediately
- Make the first contact
- Follow up quickly
- Keep following up until they tell you to go away or give you an appointment
You might think this is overly simplistic. It works. Yes there is a bit of effort required with each step to make sure you are filling your pipeline with the right type of prospects but it worth it.
Lead generation is a massive topic and way bigger than I can cover in this article. If you use the above steps as a framework, you can quickly define your lead generation system and bring it to life.
You’ll see Step 7 and 8 above have one key focus – follow up. This is usually where all lead generation functions fall apart. The follow up simply doesn’t happen on time or at all. Yet, if you follow up when you promise to, you are displaying one of the fundamentals of building trust – reliability.
You need to measure your follow up activity and the simplest way is to do it is with an activity tracker. An activity tracker is a simple tool that captures the activities you undertake and the results from those activities over a specific period. It tracks the number of contacts you make, the number of decision makers you get through to, the number of appointments you make, the number of appointments you attend, the number of proposals you present, and the number of sales you make as a result. Combined with a good CRM system, your follow up activity will definitely improve way above most of your competitors. We know follow ups are done very poorly in the profession so standing out won’t be too difficult.
What’s likely to get in the way
- I’m too busy
- I don’t have prospects
- I’m scared of what people will think
- I don’t have time
- I need to think about it first
- I’m not confident enough
- I don’t have the right process
- I don’t have the right tools
- And more…
Hence, over the coming weeks I am going to address each area to build an end-to-end lead generation and business winning process. You can take what you need and implement it into your firm.
As I said from the outset, the one KPI that really counts is the number of meetings you have with clients and prospects. If you’re serious about achieving greater outcomes this year, start planning your activity now and tap into the resources you need to get started.