Professional services firms - Are you maximising Referrals?

In the last six weeks or so I have seen an increase in firms reaching out with a similar query “What should we be doing now to win more work?” in this new more virtual world.

Referrals & your profile?

The referral process is vital for professional services but even the best of referrals can be negatively influenced when a prospect does not find what they expect online. There can be a danger that we view referral management and our digital footprint as separate channels - they are not.

The challenge of lockdown has accelerated the use of technology for all of us. As a result of that increased use, your prospects are likely to be taking the online route to research service providers more than ever, even with a good referral. Being found and communicating the right message when your target audience searches for you is more critical now, especially as your competitors are likely to be considering what they can do to build advantage too.

How to illustrate your expertise?

So when your clients recommends you to his peer, what will be find? In all likelihood your prospects will find your linkedIn profile first so will that give him confidence? Next it will probably your bio on your website and hopefully some content you have written on your specialist service or sector in online publications.

So where do you start to ensure the referral recommendation actually reaches you? The answer is dependent on where your target audience is but one thing is very clear, it is vitally important that you ensure you are making the most of your profile and your firms profile especially online.

Ask the audience

There is no easy answer for every firm but considering your target audience very very carefully is the first action. It's really important to focus on a single audience for your message to ensure clarity and depth. You cannot please everyone, if you try, you will end up diluting your message so that it loses focus.

You then need to consider how to best influence your audience most effectively with what content, channels, messages, format and frequency. Harnessing the power of your team is critical and frequently untapped in professional services so how can you do that efficiently and effectively? I see lots of posts with little engagement from individuals in large firms, posts with lots of engagement will help instil confidence, will I look to see who is engaging? Probably not. It's important too to write for your audience rather than your peers.

Consider what publications your audience reads? It's always easier if they are in a specific industry sector with trade publications.

Set your direction

I often hear comments like “We don't know what exactly we should be doing on our website, or with LinkedIn, we are worried we are not doing enough but don't know what to do about creating great posts, how do we get our team involved, how can we encourage them to engage more”.

Building a profile in a specific service area, industry or sector can also be a challenge in a virtual world but certainly very achievable if you focus, work with the right partners in the sector or target audience, be insightful and helpful.

It can be challenging and firms can easily get caught up repeating what they did previously as it can be overwhelming to stop especially with other challenges coming down the tracks. Now more that ever it's important to ensure you select the most effective actions.

If you aren’t sure where to start, please give me a call. Get help to get started in the right direction.