In yesterday’s post we investigated if corporate hospitability plays – and will continue to play- a significant role in the growth strategy of any small business, as the recession continues to take hold. Today we speak to Peter Walker, founder and CEO of legal recruitment firm, Law Professional Direct. We ask him if corporate hospitality played a role in his marketing strategy from the point of company formation, if it helped grow his company and if he feels if it will continues to play a role in the current context of the credit crunch.
“Entertaining clients has always played a key role in our business, right from the start up phase. If you are supplying candidates for a person’s legal firm, your client must be confident in your credibility. Similarly, our industry is based on reputation and I was always aware that if I wanted the company to grow, one of our main strategies must be client retention and personal relationships.”
For Walker, corporate hospitality is conducive to business growth. “It is a fundamental part of our brand, and while it would be easy to concentrate on the intangible benefits of entertaining a client ‘for the relationship’ our main priority is making sure the return on investment is measured and works. Never has that been more important than in the current economic climate.”
Walker’s spend versus result equation is simple, and seems to work. “Ultimately, for every £1,000 we spend on an individual client we like to see well over half of that back, in an increase to what they are currently spending with us.”
Law Professionals Direct has been running a tennis tournament every year from when the company first formed in 2001. The day consists of a competition between all of the top legal firms in the south east, an awards evening where the winning firm gets presented with a trophy, and lunch the next day. From the tennis balls to the complementary champagne for the winning team, the whole day is branded as LPD recruitment and, according to Walker, the success has been exponential.
Alongside the annual LPD Tennis Tournament, Walker has ensured that he has established a correlation between LPD and major dates in the industry’s calendar. For example, LPD has a box at Ascot every year and takes clients to major events such as Wimbledon. “Obviously, it is extremely costly; however, I honestly believe it has been the main contributing factor to our continued success. In the sector we are in, competitors, even those offering cheaper rates, can never hope to steal our market share because we have invested time and money on our relationships with clients and established their loyalty to our brand.”