How to Turn Billable Hours into New Revenue Generating Opportunities

Wait. Aren’t billable hours already generating revenue?

Yes, and they can generate even more future revenue if your employees are looking for opportunities to ask a few key questions during routine conversations with your clients.

It doesn’t make sense for professional services consultancies based on billable hours to have employees use that billable time for admin and marketing tasks. The maxim is to maximize billable hours.

But what kind of growth could you generate if you had your client-facing employees asking about future plans during project-based conversations?

It won’t always be appropriate, but a well-timed question here, or a genuinely concerned statement there, could set the stage for the next project with this client.

The trouble is your front-line team, if they’re any good, are 100% focused on the current project’s deliverables. Which is a good thing.

But you might be missing out on some easy opportunities.

What would happen if your employees asked your clients “How does this project fit into your overall strategy?” or

“What other things are you doing this year to grow your business?”

Admittedly, your front-line client service team members may not be talking to someone senior enough to get real answers to these questions, but what if they did? Or if they were able to set up a further conversation with someone more senior in your organization? That sounds like the kind of overarching customer service and non-sales selling that leads directly to profit for you.

It’s true that this opportunity will not come up in every client conversation, but if you’ve taught your team to think about how to deepen client relationships and they’re actively looking for opportunities to ask these questions, you’ve suddenly turned your billable client service team into a billable sales force.

Yes, it will take some interpersonal skills to recognize when it is appropriate to ask these sorts of questions and when it’s not.

Your whole team will need to brainstorm the words and phrases that will work for your organization and industry.

And they’ll need to practice making the ask in a natural manner that works for each individual. It’s still just having a conversation with a client they already know – the difference is in the bottom line.

Let’s go directly to profit, shall we?