Every firm has an “A” client list – the largest and most profitable clients for the firm. Hopefully, you have already identified them and you make sure that they receive the best “care and feeding’ and the highest priority from the firm.
If you haven’t, do it now and decide what it means in your firm to be an “A” client. We need to be reminded from time to time that our best clients are also the top targets for our competitors. And, they are being courted constantly.
Something that we did for our “A” clients when I was a managing partner is worth sharing because I don’t see it in a lot of firms. We called it our “Save the Whale” program and it worked as follows.
I visited our top clients along with the firm’s marketing director. Our purpose was to express our appreciation for their business, solicit input on our services and people, find out if they had any suggestions for the firm and to give them updates on what was happening at the firm. It was not a sales call.
If part of the above description sounds like a client satisfaction survey, you’re right, it was. How much better do you think it was received and perceived when the managing partner makes a personal visit to see them and talk about their satisfaction with the firm?
Your “A” clients deserve to be treated in a special way. This is an idea to show them how important they are to the firm and to help cement that relationship. It takes some time to work through the list, but we got a lot out of it and the clients loved it.
Most of us are thrust into the Managing Partner role in our firms with little or no training or coaching. Who teaches you to be an effective MP? How do you know if you’re performing well? Your partners won’t tell you. If you’re new to the job, do you just do it the same way as your predecessor? Is that the best approach for the firm? Who will mentor you?
As I can attest from experience in running my firm for over 20 years, it is a thankless job. I just took a deep breath and jumped in. The best feedback that most of us get is from other managing partners and from benchmarking ourselves against other firms. There are not too many places to turn for help.
Whether you are new at the job or a veteran, here is an approach to organizing the job into six buckets that will help you. It is how I approached the responsibilities and it lends itself to dividing and conquering with the ability to delegate some responsibilities.