What To Do When Your Close Rate Dips

What can a business do to counteract a dip in the historical close ratio enjoyed by a Network!Network! member law firm?

This was a question that confronted us at a recent round-table.

A consultant offered several pieces of excellent advice.

  1. Make sure that you have the right qualifying questions. If you don’t know whether or not your prospect has the budget or the authority to make a decision, any un-billable time you spend with them is wasted time
  2. Know who you are. Are we are all about ‘us’ or are we all about the client.  (They can tell the difference, so if your discussion is all about you, the prospect will probably not engage.
  3. Do you have the right success stories to demonstrate both experience and expertise?
  4. Who are you with the client? Are you nurturing or are you authoritative?  (Know what the client needs at the moment.)
  5. Know what works (or does not work) and why.
  6. Ask questions that will help you understand why this is important to the prospect. Do not assume.  If you understand why it’s important, you will be able to better guide them in the right direction.

Another attorney suggested that he tries to develop a relationship prior to transitioning to a discussion of fee structure. Once you understand the issues and have developed a relationship, you can better offer guidance.  If you spring the potential costs on the prospect too soon, you could scare them away.

A wealth advisor mentioned that he usually asks ‘what if’ questions to better understand the trade-offs inherent in every problem situation.

Finally, a business attorney suggested that we should all understand whether or not the issue is related to the business cycle (i.e. where are interest rates,  are leasing rates down, is the cost of energy up?)

Everyone who has been in business development for more than a few years knows that the ‘normal’ sales cycle and concomitant closing rates expands and contracts depending on a number of factors.  The business cycle could be operating either in your favor or against you.  The market could be saturated for your product or service.  You could be off your game.  But, if you understand the components inherent in your business and industry’s sales process, can read the tea leaves on the general business cycle and know how your business or industry works within that overall business cycle, you will be much better able to adjust to the inevitably changing landscape.

If you wish to learn more about Network!Network! or would like to visit one of our networking round-tables, please visit us at: www.networknetwork.net, or call me, Dave Bresler, at 914-924-1297

VIDEO: Bobbie Foedisch Talks About Linked In Strategies

Bobbie Foedisch of All About Leverage gives this month’s Forum talk. Bobbie is a Linked In and Social Selling expert who offers trainings and strategy to individuals and corporations on how to leverage their connections to build a referral network. Here is the video of her talk at the Forum event. Check it out!

VIDEO: Trademarks: Protecting Your Brand by Michael Steger

Learn how you can protect your valuable asset—your company trademark. Watch Mike Steger’s presentation at the Network!Network!Forum.

Dealing With Client Who Are Always in Arrears

How do you deal with a client who is always in arrears?   (Summarized from a recent Around the Horn round-table segment.)
Most of us, if we have been in business for any length of time have had to deal with this problem.  You have a client, maybe even a large client, that is always an account receivable.  Sean O’Rourke, founder of Syzygy3, an IT Consultancy, suggests that the first thing you do is change the terms.  If they are net 30, make them net 10.  And, if that doesn’t work, turn off the tap.  Why should you be your client’s bank?Conversely, Fred Cannone, of Telehouse  USA believes that this is a consistent condition of being in business.  Just go with the flow.
Josh Kaston, who runs operations for FA Processing, a Merchant Services Company, suggests that they be converted to Credit Card payments.  That way one can  be paid on demand.  Adam Russ, a litigation partner in the Law Firm of Wasser and Russ offers a discount for payment within 30 days as an incentive for prompt payment.
Paul Pagano of Milberg factors suggest that clients who are poor payers may not be worth the hassle.  And, Fred Gasior, the founder of Team Relocation Management, a commercial move consultant, will bill in advance, to be paid by the move date, if the client is known to be a problem payer.
Carl Bulgini has, in the past, told slow payers that they will now be services by a junior member of the team.  “Sorry, the associate will now be your attorney.”  And, as an extension of this concept, you may either institute a retainer agreement or increase an existing retainer to cover any experienced shortfall or late payment.
But, the consensus is, slow payers are not good clients.