In a recent post, I raised the question How Many Marketing Strategies Do You REALLY Need?

2009_bestWith the answer leaning to less is better, the obvious next question is what are the best strategies for marketing professional services? In the simplest of terms, what strategies will generate the most new business?

Sources Of New Business

Regardless of the service that we provide, there are only two sources of new business:

  1. new clients
  2. more business from existing clients

In order to attract more new potentially ideal clients, it is important for to offer them a compelling reason for choosing you instead of the competition. One element of this compelling reason is our personal brand, which helps distinguish us from the competition. The second element is our brand promise, which helps prospective new clients understand how they will benefit from our services.

Similarly, to generate more repeat business from past clients, it’s important to offer a compelling reason for hiring us again.

What value will they enjoy from more of the same type of service that they received in the past? Or equally important, what value would they receive from one of the your service areas that they have not yet experienced? (As a side note, helping clients enjoy services they have yet to experience, raises the question of how much clients know about your entire range of services. Concentrating only on those services that clients normally need could represent a huge lost opportunity).

Pull Marketing

Offering compelling reasons for potentially ideal choosing you or current clients choosing repeat business are examples of pull marketing. According to marketing-made-simple.com, “A pull strategy involves motivating customers to seek out your brand in an active process.”

In other words, it’s about “Getting the customer to come to you”

From the perspective of marketing professional services, the best pull marketing strategies include:

  • referrals
  • user-friendly information-rich websites
  • blogging
  • social media
  • public relations activities such as writing for publication and
  • public speaking

Given that marketing services marketing is about attracting more new clients and repeat business, the best marketing strategies for professionals get the clients to come to us. And that’s the magic of pull marketing.

To learn more, see:

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Here’s a quick question for you. When a client asks for your help with a specific problem, what is the best response?

Obviously the nature of the response depends upon the nature of the problem.

Urgent issues require immediate attention: prevent the situation from worsening and reassure the client that you can and will help resolve the issue.

The Best Response

However, once the urgency has been resolved, what is the next best response? Thank the clients for the opportunity of helping them and send them on their way?

What about helping clients take appropriate actions to prevent the recurrence of the same or similar issues? That would be a good approach to satisfy clients even more by exceeding their expectations.

An even better approach would be to help the client resolve the problem in such a way that both addresses any urgency in the situation and also makes the best possible contribution to helping the client achieve his goals.

More Revenue And Achieve Goals

Many service professionals experience a sense of urgency in their marketing.

They need more revenue…and they want it now. So they instinctively start looking for new clients to generate the new revenue they need. Once they have rounded up enough new business to reduce the urgency of needing revenue…problem solved. Back to business as usual: serving clients.

What about taking appropriate actions to reduce if not eliminate the recurrence of recurrence of urgent cash flow issues?

Or even better, what about addressing the need for more revenue in such a way that resolves the problem in such a way that addresses the urgency of the situation and also makes the best possible contribution to achieving business goals?

Whenever we face cash flow crunches, many of us instinctively we react by starting the hunt for new clients. Lost in this knee-jerk reaction to stop the pain is the bigger picture importance of achieving our goals.

Yet another example of the productive tension of marketing professional services, a pressing need for new revenue also offers the opportunity to help us achieve our overall goals.

Just like helping clients with their issues, it’s a whole lot more than just making the problem go away.

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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?