We’re all familiar with the age old saying of “put your money where your mouth is”, however, most professional firms don’t consider embracing the underlying concept, in their marketing, for the posterity of the business.
You already do it so now proclaim it
Imagine for a minute that you’re midstream in a critical engagement for a client. You have delivered a portion of the desired outcome, however, it caused a net negative result. Would you not do whatever it took to fix the situation? Of course you would! Why not proclaim that on your website and in your marketing material when attracting new clients to your brand?
Lynn and Brown, a law firm based in Australia has ran with this concept by publicly sharing and committing to guarantee the quality of their services as well as the price of their services. Check out the link here for a great example of how they are taking a stand for their current and future clients.
Sharing in the risk for better rewards
When we initially started advocating for this approach, it met with resistance. As humans we typically imagine worst case scenarios, however, when returning to rational thoughts, we understand that there are many tools at our disposal to achieve great outcomes, or, at worst, minimize the downside.
Effectively, guarantees seek to reassure and build rapport prior to work beginning for an engagement. You are reducing risk for the client - real or otherwise. You, like clients, place immense value on lowered risks, which most clients are willing to pay a premium for when negotiating future work.
Taking on risk breeds better processes
Incentives matter. When your firm takes on risk, it requires the design of more effective processes to ensure what you commit to is actually delivered. Hopefully, even exceeding expectations, but that’s a line of thought for another day.
Lowering risks requires your firm to focus on what truly matters to produce a quality outcome that delivers on what you agree to do at the outset of the engagement. Effectiveness must be pursued as efficiency alone merely means you are doing things right. But, are they the right things?! Effectiveness breeds processes that focus on what matters (what clients value), ensure high quality outcomes, align your team with client outcomes, and demand accountability within your firm to deliver on your promises.
Word of mouth as a double-edged sword
Clients have massive power to build and destroy your reputation. And, history shows that negative word of mouth is many times more powerful than client praise. With that, how can we minimize bad feelings if and when we find ourselves unable to satisfy a client? We believe it boils down to treating the client with respect and doing everything in our power to demonstrate compassion for their perspective. Quite often, the gesture can be quite small yet yield extraordinary results.
Case in point, have you ever been out to dinner at a restaurant and your order was screwed up? I’m sure you have. Taking this further, we all probably have memories of where the staff or manager failed to even try to make it right, leaving a bad taste in your mouth and the desire to never return and (maybe unconsciously) deter friends and family from choosing that restaurant in the future. But, what about the restaurants that chose to take charges off your bill or offer up a gift card for future occasions? From my own personal experience, that has typically won me over and, surprisingly, I’ve been happy to recommend them when given the opportunity.
What could your firm be doing to put clients at ease and, if you find yourself in the uncomfortable position of under-delivering, what could you offer to regain client trust?