Business Development


Segmentation Part 4: Become more profitable by implementing effective, focused service models

By: Laura S. Moskwa

This is the third article in the Segmentation Series; we have discussed the process of segmenting your clients and referral sources, so you will know exactly on whom you should be focusing and on whom you should no longer be wasting time. The next step is to develop a service model specific to each segment to drive effective and efficient behavior leading to greater profitability. Once again let’s start with your referral sources. Develop a list of all the services you currently provide as well as those you would like to provide but seem to never find the time to implement. The list may include educational seminars, networking events, tools/resources to assist the referral source’s business development efforts, face to face meetings for joint business planning or newsletters. In addition you can consider other services such as how quickly your firm responds to email messages or returns phone calls, timeframe for the completion of a proposal, the inclusion of client relationship managers in prospect meetings, agreeing to meet rush requests, payment for proposal generation, gifts and partner appreciation events. There are many extra services you provide or can provide to help further develop and solidify a relationship, identify them all as you will be segmenting the services into models for execution with the greatest impact.

It becomes clear that services which require the most effort and/or resources will be reserved for your best relationships and those services that do not can easily be shared with all referral sources in your database. So for instance, A level referral sources can expect to receive a call back within an hour, however those categorized as a D relationship may have to wait until all other priorities have been completed for that day. On the flip side invitations to events or newsletters which are electronically delivered can automatically be sent to all referral sources in your database as they do not require much effort. Place each service you offer or would like to offer into the models associated with each of the referral source segments you identified, as appropriate, based upon where you will get the greatest outcome for your effort. Once you have completed these models, train your staff on them. That is, all of your staff, as those in the back office that work with the clients and therefore your referral sources on a day to day basis will need to provide the services as outlined in your models as well. As mentioned in the last article, client service models will contain certain givens as there are deadlines you need to adhere to, however you can certainly develop service models that offer the above and beyond for your best by following a similar process as outlined above.

Stay tuned for the next article which will cover activity models focusing exclusively on sales activity and referral sources.


The process of segmenting your clients and referral sources is to strive for greater efficiency, effectiveness and ultimately profitability. The goal is to focus high level service on your best and a baseline for all, without wasting your time and effort on those categorized as D, your lowest level.

So what are the ten steps in the development of service models for your segmented clients and referral sources?


  • What services does your firm currently provide?


  • What services would you like to add?


  • Develop a list from which to work


  • Which of the services would you consider as baseline for all segments
    • Client example – meeting deadlines
    • Referral sources – Actually is there is nothing that would be given across all segments


  • Which services would differentiate your firm?
    • Client examples – Client contact training session at your office, annual visit
    • Referral source examples – appreciation event, quicker call back times, gift or completion of rush requests just because they are a good partner


  • Indicate the effort and resources required to complete each service
    • This can be done by simply noting High or Low
    • Or can be based upon time required or staff members involved


  • Develop a grid with 4 quadrants, one for each relationship segment
  • Place the services into the grid based upon given and nice to have
    • A level relationships get all services regardless of effort
    • D level relationships get services that don’t waste time, for example electronic communications


  • Generate a document that is available to all staff members outlining service models by segment


  • Make sure that all of the staff understands the importance of adherence
  • You can communicate certain aspects to your best referral sources and clients, not specifically stating why but what they should expect


  • Track services provided by all staff members to ensure no time is being wasted
  • Things change so being flexible enough to tweak the models as needed







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