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Professional Services Marketing: How the Best Firms Build Premier Brands, Thriving Lead Generation Engines, and Cultures of Business Development Success, 2nd Edition by Lee Frederiksen, John E. Doerr, Mike Schultz

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22

Creating Essential Relationships

Ask most people about the strength of their core client relationships and they'll say, “Great. Rock solid. Very deep.” However, many are commenting on how much rapport or trust they feel they have with the client. They less often answer the question through the lens of business value the client receives.

Ask, “Would you or your team be able to call top management at the account and get through easily?” and they'll say, “Maybe. In some places yes, and others, probably not so much.”

Ask, “If your relationship with the account ended, how difficult would the majority of people there perceive it to be to replace you?” Sometimes they'll say, “It would create major challenges.” Other times, “Well, they'd call a competitor and replace us fairly quickly with only minor disruption.”

Ask, “How much value does your client perceive they receive from the relationship?” and sometimes the answer is “Some,” sometimes it's “Major,” and other times, “Breakthrough, company-changing value.” However, all too often, it's, “Well, I'm not sure.”

Even simple questions such as, “Would the account contacts describe their relationship with you as trivial, worthwhile, important, or essential?” yield answers all over the map.

The firms that expand their practices and grow their accounts best know the answers to all of these questions. They are rigorous and brutally honest in their relationship analysis and specific about their relationship growth strategies. And they view ...

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