In today’s quickly changing digital age, what’s the best way to generate new business for your professional services business?
Is it jumping onto the the technology bandwagon and adding as many digital marketing bells and whistles as possible?
Or is continuing to practice the basics of marketing professional services: networking and referrals?
While you ponder theses questions, allow me to share a couple of stories.
Once Upon a Time…
Once upon a time, the concept of marketing professional services was not widely recognized. It was during that period of time that I started my own law practice in a community that was fairly new to me.
Not only were there no marketing resources available, there was no time to look for them even if they existed. I needed clients and I needed them fast. So I did what lawyers before me and other professionals like me did: I met as many strangers as possible.
These strangers became friends and acquaintances who soon started to make referrals to me.
Happily once these referrals became satisfied clients, they too began to refer their friends and acquaintances. And so my practice grew.
Now, the marketing term for getting to know as many people as possible would be networking.
Fast forward to today. As I write this, I am working on a new project to be launched in the immediate future. In order for this project to succeed, I need to meet a whole lot of new people who can help me with its development and attracting clients. Using LinkedIn, I have identified and am connecting with over 100 potentially helpful strangers.
The process of identifying and connecting with potentially helpful strangers is also called networking.
From my perspective, networking today is so much faster, easier and more effective than the approach that professionals applied so many years ago. Instead of traveling to and from mutually convenient meeting places, today’s connections are made through social media such as LinkedIn. And no longer limited by geographic boundaries, we are free to connect with like-minded people wherever they may be.
And the Answer Is…
Returning now to the original question, clearly the best way to generate new business is to practice the basics of marketing professional services: networking and referrals. Today’s digital marketing tools and resources do not replace the basics, they allow us to connect with more people, more easily.
To learn more about networking, see Your Personal Network Is Your Extended Support Team – You and Your Contacts Help Each Other Succeed and Social Networking for Professionals – How Your Contacts Can Help Grow Your Business.
To learn more about referrals, see How to Generate More Referrals – Implement a Referral System