Business growth is more like processes that happen in nature. This means that business growth is organic…not created, directed or otherwise controlled by the human mind.

Sometimes with proper care and attention to our professional service marketing, we can achieve some great results.

Other times, despite the best of intentions, we produce less than satisfying results.

According to Edward D. Hess of the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, there are six keys to organic growth. Hess refers to these keys as ‘secret sauce’ of long term growth.

  1. Unique talents and/or services
  2. Best talent
  3. Visionary, charismatic leaders
  4. Superior innovation
  5. Cost superiority obtained by outsourcing and off-shoring
  6. Sophisticated, diversified strategies

I like this model, intuitively it makes a lot of sense.

The secret sauce combines our personal inborn talents (items 1-3) with the actions we take to apply these resources (items 4 & 6). It also combines some elements which are related to the marketing function (1-4) with some that are more related to business management (items 5-6).

There is nothing to suggest that equal amounts of each ingredient are required. That’s where our experience comes into play. From past experience, we will know…or can figure out…how much of each element is required to achieve desired growth. Different circumstances require different amounts of individual ingredients.

Enough theory. I’m satisfied that my business planning includes these six keys to organic growth. How will they help you achieve your growth goals?

 

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In my last post, I wrote about The 3 Keys To Successfully Marketing Professional Services.

In the simplest terms, these keys are appropriate marketing know-how, attitudes and actions.

These keys are not unique to marketing professional services. They are at the core of success in every human endeavor … including the delivery of professional services.

For practical purposes, this means that if you can satisfy clients with your professional services, you can apply the marketing equivalents of know-how, attitudes and actions to attract new clients. But that’s another post for another time.

One Clearly Identifiable Factor

Reconnecting with my legal training, I am reminded of the the principle of audi alteram partem or “hear [audi] the other side too” .

This raises the question: “If appropriate know-how, attitudes and actions are the keys to successfully marketing professional services, what blocks…or gets in the way of…successful professional service marketing?”

Based on my experience, there is one clearly identifiable factor that prevents most of from achieving the success we want. This factor has nothing to do with either marketing know-how or attitudes. It is one single action, an action that we have all taken deliberately or by default.

That action? Lack of focus.

Keep Your Eye On The Ball

Not surprisingly, the same factor also serves as an obstacle to success in non-marketing and non-business situations alike.

If you have ever played a sport involving a ball, puck, or something else to be smacked or caught, you are painfully aware of the importance of ‘keeping your eye on the ball’.

We all know what happens when we take our eyes of the ball. Sometimes the outcome is simply less than satisfactory results. Other times it is a huge disappointment. And occasionally, the outcome is nothing short of a disaster.

In marketing professional services, the ball is the results we want to achieve. Whenever we allow ourselves to be distracted by the latest technological advance instead of staying the course to achieve our goals…we are taking the eye off the ball. Similarly, whenever we jump all over a new opportunity at the cost of ignoring the pursuit of our planned goals, we have lost our focus and direction.

Successfully marketing professional services is not really all that difficult. Unfortunately, like other fairly straight-forward things in life, we make it harder for ourselves than it needs to be. Instead of keeping a tight focus on achieving our set goals, we take our eyes off the ball and achieve less than satisfying results.

Now that I have identified lack of focus as the #1 obstacle, how do you keep focused on achieving your goals?

 

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Now that the first draft of How To Market Professional Services and its companion workbook are complete, I can write about some specific issues that have been lingering on my growing list of blog topics.

One of the side benefits of working on How To Market Professional Services is that I now have a knowledge and information base for individual issues relating in one way or another to marketing professional services. When responding to specific marketing issues, it’s always easier and more effective to link possible solutions to relevant learning resources.

The 10 Challenges

Regardless of the effectiveness of our marketing planning and management, inevitably we will all face a serious challenge (aka problem or crisis) that requires immediate attention.

Here are 10 of what might be considered major marketing challenges for service professionals. Over the coming weeks, I will offer tips and suggestions for responding to these challenges.

To help you develop the best and most appropriate response, appropriate reference will be made to either or both of How To Market Professional Services and the Marketing Professional Services Workbook.

In random order, here are 10 serious marketing challenges that most service professionals face at one point or another.

  1. Losing A Major Client
  2. A New Competitor In The Market
  3. A Public Relations Disaster
  4. Offering A Service That Clients Need But Don’t Know It
  5. Loyal Client Choosing A Competitor For Help
  6. Client Pipeline Drying Up Or Slowing Down
  7. You Want More Or Different Business But Are Too Busy To Market
  8. You Hate Social Media But Your Competitors Are All Using It
  9. You Love Serving Clients But Hate Marketing
  10. You Feel Over-Worked And Under-Compensated

If you love serving clients, but hate marketing your services, check out this coaching for professionals who don’t like marketing.  It might help you change your approach to marketing and start attracting more, perhaps better, clients.

 

The currently free book How To Market Professional Services will help you learn what you need to know to attract more clients.

The companion workbook … Professional Services Marketing Workbook … will help you learn how to apply what you need to know. In other words, it will help you learn to market your professional services your way.

Following the organization and structure of How To Market Professional Services, this workbook contains self-study exercises that will help you personalize the key elements of professional service marketing. As a result, you can base your marketing your strengths.

The self-study exercises will also help you customize the marketing elements for maximum effectiveness in your market.

As a result, drawing upon your strengths, you develop your own marketing solutions to your own unique market situation. This approach is much better than trying to apply standardized, one-size-fits-all marketing solutions. These approaches seldom work well for any one.

You can use this workbook either on its own or in combination with the book. If you like, the workbook can be used as part of a group study program. Choose whichever approach works best for you. You can improve your marketing know-how and skills, working on your own…or as part of a group. It’s your call.

Perhaps best of all the workbook, Professional Services Marketing Workbook is free. Grab your copy to today…start improving your marketing tomorrow.

As outlined in Solving The Professional Service Marketing Puzzle there is a genuine need for help with marketing professional services.

Around the World

Geographically, this need does not appear to be limited to North America.

Requests for free copies of How To Market Professional Services also came from individuals in South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, including New Zealand.

Keeping in mind that my blog attracted readers from countries around the world, I tried to balance basic principles of professional service marketing with enough flexibility to apply these principles in different cultures and markets when preparing preparing the book.

Not surprisingly, this was not as challenging task as it would appear. I say not surprisingly, because the key to successfully marketing professional services is to personalize the key principles and then applying these customized principles so that reflect you and how you help clientsin your market.

It is this customization that allows service professionals in Brasil, Latvia, India or anywhere else apply these professional service marketing principles as effectively as they can be applied in North America.

Solo Professional Or Large Professional Firm

In preparing the book, my target reader was the solo service professional working away in his or her home office. With this perspective, I was surprised at the number of responses from individuals who worked as part of large professional organizations.

On reflection, I realized that the real surprise was my mistaken belief that professional service marketing for solo practitioners was different from marketing in a larger organizations.

It was in reflecting on my marketing experience with larger organizations that I saw the error in my thinking.

Many of my early engagements as a consultant involved helping law firms with management and marketing challenges. In retrospect, it’s obvious that the marketing consulting help that I provided way back then is totally consistent and compatible with the principles and concepts of How To Market Professional Services.

The biggest difference between then and now is that now I have better understanding of the principles and concepts of marketing professional services, including how to effectively apply these elements.

Two factors contribute to the commonality of marketing as a solo professional and as a member of a larger organization.

One is the customization potential outlined above. Just as individuals can personalize relevant concepts to reflect their own situations, service professionals in larger firms can also customize ingredients to reflect their unique situations.

Second, whether marketing as a solo professional or as a member of a larger organization, the critical elements attracting new and better clients are the same: likeability, trustworthiness and competence.

Lessons Learned

From a purely personal perspective, it was great to learn that my book has the potential to help service professionals regardless of where they are located and the the size of their business organization.

But what was even better was the realization that things are not always what they appear to be.

Sometimes they are bigger and better.

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