What do you do when business is sluggish? The first impulse is to look outward for answers. You add a few more seminars or begin a new direct mail campaign. Or you decide that your entire marketing strategy needs to be overhauled. But it’s just as likely that what really needs help is something decidedly unglamorous: your internal operating systems.

If you’re not getting referrals, consider it a red flag. Lack of referrals may indicate that clients are having a “ho-hum” experience that simply doesn’t inspire them to spread the word about your firm. And that almost always is a direct result of your internal business systems and practices.

  • Take a good hard look at the “front lines.” In a service- and trust-based business, whoever has contact with the prospect or client has major impact on retention and referrals. These people really are the face of your company. How professional, upbeat, and positive are those interactions? Be honest.
  • Consider hiring a New Business Coordinator. Have this person join you in every new business appointment. They will hear firsthand what needs to be done in order to transform a prospect into a client and will be able to leave the appointment and get things done.
  • Establish systems for the most repeated activities in the office. Create a process or set of guidelines for every key activity new business, client review, meeting agenda, client service event, client communication, prospect communication. That way, everyone in the office will know what to do, and the job will get done consistently every time.

Delighted clients are not only deeply loyal, they are happy to pass your name along to their friends, family, and coworkers. Do the internal things right and you’ll surely give them something positive to talk about.