Professional service providers are specifically trained and operate under a duly authorized license. A brief list would include doctors, attorneys, architects, and CPA’s. Some of these professions have regulatory limits as to what they can or cannot do, but in today’s internet dominated marketplace, these 5 elements are essential to acquiring new clients or patients.

[1] Be found

[2] Intrigue them

[3] Serve them well

[4] Retain them

[5] Be referred by them

The primary source of new clients for a professional services firm is the referral – word of mouth. Elements [1] through [4] are the foundation causing word of mouth to occur.



Today, more and more shoppers use the internet.

“Thanks for telling me about your doctor. How do you spell the name?”

Hello Google. Are there any reviews?  What does their website look like? What does the doctor look like? What do they sound like? Have they written something?

These questions are sought out whether your name is gained by a referral or reading your book or having heard you speak.

Once a prospect learns the name of a prospective provider, the online research most likely begins.

What will they find about you and your practice?



Prospects are seeking information to make their decision, which may include a face to face meeting, but before that, what other information might be available?

Albert Mehrabian, a UCLA professor, quantified how an audience processes information and formulates an opinion.

7% is due to the actual words written or said.

38% is due to emphasis and tone of voice.

55% is due to body language and eye contact.

Tone of voice, body language and eye contact are all elements of either a face to face meeting or video.

Can a prospect see you in a video? How important is your meeting them face to face? How important is the first face to face meeting?



The primary service is a given. Whatever your special service is, it must be of high quality. Prospects assume you can do what your license says you can.

Service includes the entire experience

  • Reception
  • Waiting room
  • Technology
  • Conference / exam rooms
  • Equipment
  • Parking
  • Staff

What do your clients like about your office and staff? What would they like improved or updated?



Sometimes businesses focus too much on new clients and the current clients feel left out. Be careful of discounts and special offers for first-time clients.

Clients love to be remembered. Hearing one’s own name is a most pleasant experience, along with a “welcome back, it’s nice to see you again.”

But, the critical ingredient to retaining a professional services client is communication, as Albert Mehrabian described. Clients want the information, the words, but also, the words should be neatly delivered in an appropriate tone of voice with confident and caring body language…and a lot of direct eye contact.

The professional services client experience is both the content and manner it is delivered.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”



You can and should ask your clients to recommend you to their friends and family. Apply these essential elements to increase the likelihood of their doing so.

The primary source of new clients for a professional services firm is the referral – word of mouth, which is the result of a quality customer experience.


Steve Gatter is a customer acquisition strategist for B2B Solopreneurs.


Dale Brodsky, Founder & Owner of Fundus Photo and St. Louis Ophthalmic Equipment — provides a broad range of ophthalmic diagnostic and imaging equipment, including “NewVision Ophthalmic Imaging Suite”, software designed specifically for ophthalmic imaging and image management.