This one is so often misunderstood. And it’s deceptively simple. So it can be tempting to go “Yeah well obviously customer service is important, we give great customer service.”

Hmmm. Let’s dig in to this a little more though.

So, I want to be clear here that I’m not talking about customer service at all, I’m talking about a focus on client acquisition rather than client engagement.


Here’s a story for you.

A client I had last year run’s a small accounting firm that’s been around for 5 years, has 3 staff and their own offices. He was referred to me by another client and when I asked what his reason for getting in touch was he explained “We need help with lead generation.”

Great, sounds simple enough right? There are so many different ways to generate leads.

Maybe I should build him a 3 step sales funnel and get started doing some kind of paid advertising? Or maybe I should create a clever direct mail campaign? Or maybe I should use a LinkedIn strategy? Or he could run an event? Write a book and promote it? Create a package that he could promote through strategic partners?

So many ideas!

Well, not so fast. How about we find out why he want’s help with lead generation and how he’s getting leads right now?

After a lot of questioning I discovered that:

  • Most of his leads had always come through word of mouth
  • He had tried all sorts of advertising campaigns, flyer drops and networking but had had little to no result
  • He’d paid a specialist accounting firm lead generation company thousands for they system but it relied heavily on networking and he felt the system didn’t work
  • His customer communication consisted of a monthly blog that he sent out as a newsletter by email
  • He did absolutely nothing else for his customers other than their accounting work
  • Their offices were about as bland and old-school as you could imagine and made you feel depressed going in there
  • His personal presentation left a lot to be desired and his social skills weren’t much to write home about
  • I discovered from a mutual acquaintance that he was an amazing accountant but he charged lower than market rates
  • He had a client database of current (and some recent past) clients of 700

This clients story is the same story I hear every week. And the same story I’ve heard from clients big and small, with new and established businesses.

  1. They come to me wanting more leads, because they want more sales, because they need to make more money.
  2. They are spending all their time and money on trying to find new ways to get new clients.
  3. They are getting most of their leads and the highest conversion rate from word of mouth.
  4. They are currently doing NOTHING for their existing clients other than deliver the product or service they have for sale.

Hmmm. Spot the problem?

Yes, all these clients are so focused on getting new leads, sales and clients that they’ve totally missed the fact most of their leads come from word of mouth. And that to get more leads, all they have to do is generate more positive word of mouth.

This invariably means they’re not keeping as many customers as they should be too.

Word of mouth marketing is and always will be incredibly powerful, because it’s a third party endorsement of your product or service, and it’s coming from someone that you trust.

So how to generate consistent positive word of mouth marketing?

Deliver an unexpectedly great experience for people who do become customers.

Consider every touchpoint and transaction an opportunity to do something to make the experience enjoyable, easy or just fun.

Look after your clients once they become clients, develop a relationship with them that shows them that they’re important to you through the way you treat them.

Do things so well that they can’t help but to talk about you.

The statistics are sobering …

Having a client on-boarding programimproves retention by on average 50%.

An increase of even 5% in customer retention generates an average increase in profits of 25-95%.

(These figures are from Bain & Co)

When you do things this way, instead of chasing leads you’ll have new warm leads coming to you.

And instead of wasting money on advertising and hoping you’ll find a tactic that works, until they change something on Google or Facebook again and your current tactics aren’t working anymore, you invest it in delivering an incredible brand experience that generates amazing returns no matter what’s happening in the world of digital marketing.

On the homepage of this site¬†you’ll see in the very top section there are two buttons for Business Fairytale and Business Nightmare … I’ve written two stories there to illustrate this issue for you.

Good luck. Go forth and be amazing for your clients, and they will help you market your stuff!