Marketing Professional Services Is Like Serving Clients…Really!

April 9, 2013

By writing about the 10 Challenges of Marketing Professional Services, my intention was two-fold.

One element was to identify some of the marketing challenges that face those of us who market our professional services. And having identified these challenges, the other element was to offer suggestions for responding effectively to these challenges.

Now, having reflected on the response to this series of blog posts, there is a very clear and undeniable conclusion that can be drawn.

Ironically, this conclusion is reflected in the title of the March 27 blog post: What To Do When You Love Serving Clients But Hate Marketing, which attracted the most visitors of the series.

For the most part, service professionals really do love serving clients. As for marketing, it’s one of those things that we all know we should be doing…but realistically few of us enjoy it, even a little bit.

Instead of trying to overcome service professionals’ general dislike of marketing, it would be more helpful to re-frame marketing as an extension of client service. As part of this process, let’s consider what marketing is…and what it is not.

Here are 12 factors that help clarify what marketing is, together with the opposite factors that clarify what it is not.

  1. client-focused …. not standardized ‘one-size-fits-all’
  2. building and maintaining relationships … not adversarial
  3. continuous … not isolated or one time only
  4. conversation…not a speech, monologue, lecture or one-way conversations
  5. marketing as education offers new information…not the same old same old message
  6. investment for future benefits … not throwing resources at a problem
  7. mutually beneficial interactions… not one-sided win-lose scenario
  8. proactive … not reactive
  9. strategic … not just problem-solving
  10. transformational … not maintaining the status quo
  11. your best stuff … not bare minimum
  12. unique ‘one-of-a-kind’ interactions.. not marketing to the masses

Following the same approach followed with 10 Challenges of Marketing Professional Services, in and of themselves, these factors will help redefine marketing as an extension of client service.

Now the task is offer suggestions for applying these factors in such a way that marketing professional services become a logical and comfortable expansion of serving clients.

Stay tuned…over the coming weeks, I will prepare weekly blog posts about just that…helping you redefine and integrate marketing as an extension of your client service.

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6 Responses to “Marketing Professional Services Is Like Serving Clients…Really!”


  1. A marketer who tries to steal a sales job ?
    Enjoy the transition, Sales are just amazing.
    Welcome in my world 😉

    • Larry Easto Says:

      Thanks Laurent

      Not sure I understand “A marketer who tries to steal a sales job ?”

      But marketer tho I am, I do love the thrill of closing a sale. 🙂

  2. Jeff Boutin Says:

    Laurent,

    I’m not quite sure to take your response. I am an owner of a financial planning firm, In that role, I service, market and yes sales are made. Perhaps I am stealing from myself? 😉

    Larry great article!

    If I had my druthers, I would prefer simply providing excellent service and helping people all day long. As is the nature of the beast, I also have to go and “rattle the bushes” to keep my practice thriving. “Sales” has been, it is, and probably will always be out of my comfort zone as a stand alone function of life.

    Serving clients, solving problems, making a difference and helping people is just amazing.

    • Larry Easto Says:

      Thanks Jeff

      Your last sentence sums up my feelings as well. And sometimes potential clients need some help in making the decision to accept our help. That’s where the selling component comes into play. Like a health care provider encouraging a patient to accept some helpful treatment.


  3. What if sales is something you hate or are not good at? What if marketing is something you don’t really know how to do?

    Here’s some thinking that can help you sell and even market.

    1) Remember, selling is a conversation, not a pitch.
    2) Remember that people do things for their reasons, not yours so find out what the folks you are “talking” with care and worry about. Then refocus your approach to address the needs and worries you just uncovered.

    Thats what can help you sell even if you think you don’t like selling. Sales is, after all, a conversation. Marketing is the same thing – a conversation.

    Another approach that works and maybe even the best thing to do is to contract with someone who understands sales, marketing, and loves doing these “chores”. That frees you up to do what you love and do best. Its worth it for getting a great focus and success via sales and marketing that does acquire paying customers.

    Once on board or once someone comes to you, it then is a matter of the perceived experience that new and exisitngcustomer/client has. That’s where you shine and should focus.

    • Larry Easto Says:

      Thanks, Neil. Good points.

      Most service professionals have no formal training in marketing their services. As a result, they tend to learn on the job and on the fly, trying to use marketing approaches that they see others using. Because the best profession service marketing…networking and referrals…is usually invisible, many people hate or think they are not good at the wrong things…what they see others doing.

      Best to ignore what suppliers of commodities and tangible products do in the name of marketing and do what service professionals consistently do best…interact with others.


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