So, I wrote last week about Ideal Clients and how that impacts a Sole Proprietor Law Office. Now, I want to talk about Client Size. Clearly Large Clients (unless you have something special) are harder to land. They take more time because they have larger groups involved in purchasing decisions. If we take a look at Unique Value Propositions, this can be a way to shorten this time. Come up with something very targeted and then focus your efforts only on them. You will have a narrow prospect pool. If you have identified needs correctly then you will be able to fill a specific niche. So, this is really a change in time not the amount of time spent in landing a Large Client.
The impact actually comes in the addition of Account Management. Even with a Lawyer, who generally bills for any time with a client, it is probably worth considering how much free time will be required to service the client. The importance of each large client cuts both ways. The client is dependent upon your expertise but you are reliant on the large dollar value of the client. This means that maintaining trust comes at a premium. One way to do that is to build Account Management time into your plan. This is time away from the normal work to check in and build upon the relationship. By doing this, any challenges that are hidden can be brought to light. On top of that, by being regularly available the client will see that they have a partner and potentially rebuff attempts to displace you.
Now that trust counts for a lot, as much of 30% of cost of a deal. That 30% is generally what being a good embedded vendor is worth in a non-commodity business. However, to keep that client you will have to work hard for them when you are priced at a premium. Why does that switching cost exist? Well, it is pretty simple. Change takes time, effort and money. If your clients are very happy with your work they might be tempted by lower bids, but will resist them as the different employees have built the way they work around you. The deeper the relationship, the tougher it is to change.
All of this implies that you will have to budget time to manage these accounts and keep all the people that you touch happy. Not all of that time will be billable time. So, there is some financial downside to this as well as risk. On the other hand, having 50%+ of your monthly revenue coming from large, stable accounts can make your life much simpler.
This is one of the ways to build your company and a serious one to talk and think about!
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