Hello, it’s time for Ask JP! I love getting your questions. Here’s today’s question, “Which is more difficult: keeping a client or getting a new one?”
Ah, great question, and I’ve got some real strong feelings about this one.
It’s more difficult to keep them but it’s absolutely worth the effort. You know what? If you’re really good at what you do and you have the talent, you’re going to keep them. It takes time to get there but I think it’s actually easier once you’ve developed your team and you’ve worked out all the process. And you’ve got great people, process, and procedures in place. And a great value proposition from the association client. Right? So, over time, that becomes easier.
It’s much more difficult to get a new association client. They don’t change very quickly, therefore, they’re kind of stuck in their legacy model. That could be beneficial if you have them as a client because there are less likely to change or move. And they continue to come back to you but getting them in the first place is the biggest challenge.
There are somewhere around 3,000 associations in the Washington DC area and, if you look at organizations of significant size, let’s say over a million dollars, you’re talking about 1,500 organizations. Maybe even less than that. Every association vendor, every Capitol Hill lobbying firm, every communications operation, calling the same people you are. So, you better get pretty damn good at developing business and getting new clients. That is the biggest challenge. However, I think there’s a great opportunity there if you’re willing to stay with it. That’s the biggest thing that I see when it comes to association service firms, or firms that serve associations, is they’re not willing to stay with it. They don’t stay in the game long enough. They decide, “Wow, this is too hard! These people take too long! I’m going to move on and drop my association business.”
Your ability to stick with it is a big deal when it comes to getting more clients and then, if you’ve got a great program, you’re going to keep them for a very long time.