Coffee Break Marketing

October 9, 2013

Unlike other online resources which add to the marketing information overload, the new 5-Minute Marketing offers small, focused chunks of marketing help. In about the same amount time it would take for a coffee break, you will learn what you need to know to attract more clients.

And in about the same amount of time, you can start to apply what you have learned and generate more new business.

Also unlike other marketing resources, 15-Minute Marketing does not disrupt your normal routine or add to your to-do list. You can add it to a coffee break, improving your marketing while you enjoy your coffee.

Not only does 15-Minute Marketing take about the same amount time it would take for a coffee break, the total cost of each learning each marketing strategy is about the same as the price of one cup of coffee: $2.99.

It’s hard not to think of this this marketing support as Coffee Break Marketing.

Check out 15-Minute Marketing and start attracting more ideal clients. Enjoy great benefits from coffee-break sized time commitments.

Isn’t it time that you attracted more of the kinds of clients you love to serve?

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Marketing As Education

May 14, 2013

Another entry from the ‘What Is Marketing‘ Department.

In addition to attracting new clients and also your favorite definition of marketing here is another definition that you can add to the list.

Marketing is all about education. Specifically, it’s about helping five groups of people learn more about you, and how you help clients.

Helping Support Staff & Colleagues Learn

Before even thinking of telling the world about our services, make sure that everyone at home base is on the same marketing page.

Anyone and everyone who will have any client contact plays a part in our marketing. In practice, this means that it’s essential that they fully understand who we are, what we stand for and how we help clients.

As an added bonus, these people can and often do, offer helpful insights and observations that might improve the effectiveness of our marketing.

Helping Referral Sources Learn

Networking and referrals remain the major source of new clients for service professionals. This being the case, it is essential that our referral sources fully understand who we are, what we stand for and how we help clients.

It’s also essential that they understand who the kinds of clients we love to serve…our ideal clients. If they know the kinds of people we love to serve, it’s unlikely they will refer any potentially problematic clients.

Helping The Market Learn

Strange as it may appear, parts of our market remain unaware of our services and similar services of comparably qualified professionals.

This means that the starting point for marketing as education is helping the market understand not only the existence of our professionals services, but also how these services can help them make a difference in their lives.

Instead of echoing what everyone else in your industry is saying, tell your own story, which includes an introduction to your personal brand and brand promise.

Helping Potential Clients Learn

For potentially ideal clients to hire us, they must see us as likeable, competent and trustworthy.

Instead of promoting personal and professional achievements, a better approach would be to outline common problems that face people like them…and then discuss how these and similar problems were resolved. Another good place for your personal brand and brand promise.

Ideally, our marketing will help potentially ideal clients learn why we are their most logical choice as some one who can and will help them with their problems.

Helping Clients Learn

Consistently, professional services includes huge elements of helping clients learn. For the most part, this involves learning more about the technical aspects of out service.

We can also help clients learn to make the most of our help…how to get even better results from our service. Even better results will produce even more satisfied clients, which in turn will probably produce even more repeat and referral business.

For most of us, education is a critical component of our client service.

Why not also make it a key element of marketing professional services?

What makes one client appear more important than the others?

Personally, I think all clients are important. If we have taken the time and energy to qualify and accept them as ideal clients, does that not make them important?

For most service professionals, important clients generate lots of fee revenue.

Financial issues aside, losing an ‘important’ client is not always and automatically a bad thing.

Here are 3 good things about losing an ‘important’ client.

1. It’s A Good Wake-Up Call

With a steady flow of income from an ‘important’ client, it’s easy to forget about such things as providing great service for all clients and marketing to attract more and better clients.

Great client service helps generate repeat and referral business from existing clients. And good marketing attracts the kinds of clients that you love to serve.

Nothing emphasizes the importance of focusing on serving existing clients and attracting new ones better than the loss of a high-revenue client.

2. ‘Important’ Clients Are Not Always Ideal Clients

One law firm in which I worked had a mid-sized mortgage lender as a client. This client insisted that its clients, the mortgagors, have the necessary legal work done by our firm. The steady flow of fee revenue ensured all of us that we would receive our pay checks.

But the mortgagors were among the most annoying and obnoxious clients I have ever worked with. With their over-fed sense of entitlement, they were unhappy with everything from having to deal with our law firm to our unwillingness to go to their homes on weekends to look after the legal work.

Nothing pleased them. But as long as the fee revenue continued to flow, the firm eagerly accepted each new client file.

I was happy when I left the security of the steady revenue flow in favor of choosing the clients I wanted to serve.

3. Opportunity To Revise Your Plan For Success

When a high-revenue client leaves, clearly one of our priorities is to replace lost revenue.

What better time to consider new and potentially more profitable revenue sources?

Replacing lost revenue does not mean delivering the same service that produced the lost revenue. Perhaps there are other services that could deliver but have never had the time because of your commitment to the now departed ‘important’ client.

But why stop there? Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your business plan. It’s possible that the client’s departure is a sign of things to come.

Every cloud has its silver lining.

How would you turn the loss of a high-revenue client into a positive development?

Yesterday I raised the question: is your self service as good as your client service?

Strange as both the question and the timing may have seemed, it was not a random act of weirdness right out of the blue.

Last week, I had lunch with a service professional whose main business activity is helping owners of home businesses become and remain focused on achieving their goals. Instead of lunching at one of the great restaurants in her neighborhood, she requested that we get some take-out fast food and have lunch at her nearby apartment. She explained that she was feeling broke.

Over lunch she told me about the book that she had prepared over the past few months. Turns out that the book had absolutely nothing to do with her professional service. After listening to her talk about her book, I quickly realized that it’s one and only strength was her passion for the project. There was little to suggest that the book would be marketable, let alone profitable.

To make her financial situation even more problematic, a training workshop that she was planning for a social services agency was at risk of being cancelled. Like her book, this workshop was not directly related to her professional services. Although the topic was within her area of experience, the primary purpose of the workshop was generate revenue.

As an author, I certainly understand the appeal of writing about a passion. And as a speaker and trainer, I know how hard it is to resist the allure of a paid speaking gig.

However, as a coach I recognize the importance of helping clients remain focused on achieving their business goals. And as a marketing coach, my role is to help clients attract more ideal clients.

To best serve my clients, I must walk my talk. How can I be in position to help clients, encouraging them to act focused and purposefully, when in my own business I pursue whatever interest seems more relevant at the time?

If there is any good news about my friend’s situation, it’s that she is not alone. From my experience, it seems that many service professionals also act from the position of “Do As I Say, Not As I Do”.

What a disservice to their clients …and themselves.

 

 

 

The primary purpose of the professional service marketing process is to identify and connect with potentially ideal clients. Once this connection has been established, we can start to build sustainable ongoing relationships with these people.

The early stages of relationships will help potential clients start to like us so that they might consider doing business with us. Our relationships with potential clients do more than simply allow us to demonstrate our personal likeability. It is through these relationships that potential clients can recognize our trustworthiness and competence, two other criteria for hiring service professionals.

After we and potential clients have agreed to work together, they become actual clients. At that point, trustworthiness replaces likeability as the leading personal trait.

Certainly it is still important for clients to like us. But once they hire us, they will start to trust us to help them. They also expect that we are competent, capable of delivering the services discussed and promised. And even though they may not understand the technical aspects of our professional competence, they trust us to apply our know-how, whatever that may be, to help them achieve their desired outcomes.

To learn more help transform potential clients into actual clients, see Trust-Based Client Connections.

 

A marketing performance assessment is ideal for self-employed professionals who have been running their own businesses for at least 5 years.

The best assessment is based on a simple straightforward questionnaire.

You can complete this questionnaire on your own…whenever it’s convenient for you.

The questionnaire usually consists of a series of questions addressing the following factors:

  • ideal clients/customers and their purchasing patterns
  • the competition and your competitive advantage
  • your marketing

For an online marketing assessment, see Your Current Marketing Situation