This week's Pivot newsletter article on expanding the client relationship seemed to resonate with many of our readers. In the article, we submit evidence that most clients aren't aware of the range of services provided by their professional services firms.

Why do clients who are pleased with the job your firm has done in the past occasionally turn around and buy services you offer from a competitor? Usually it is because they don't know all that you do. If you aren't actively explaining your services to clients, you are probably missing a lot of opportunities. According to our study — and reader's responses — clients want this information and they want it delivered personally.

David Galen, a commercial photographer (who doesn't shoot weddings), put it this way:

“I am always educating clients about different services we offer. Despite that, I still get the stereotypical response from businesses that have known me or at least known OF me for years — “Oh, you do weddings, right?” I quietly excuse myself, go to my car and scream, regain my composure and return to my meeting. Those experiences teach me that businesses who I thought knew me obviously don't. Nothing beats the personal contact. Despite our websites, print ads, direct mail, etc., we need to be reminded that a personal meeting or phone call beats EVERYTHING else.”

Don't get so caught up in the details of an engagement that you forget to educate your clients. Existing clients are, after all, a professional services firm's best source of future business. Just because you work with people on a regular basis doesn't mean they know you — according to our research, they probably don't. And they'll go elsewhere for a service they would have been happy to send your way.

One IP attorney explains,”We have patent clients that don't know about our trademark and corporate services, and my experience has generally been that the personal visit is the best way to educate the client as to the range and breadth of services.”

Ignorance is bliss only if you don't need a lot of repeat business.