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.

 

 

 

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So many factors contribute to successfully marketing professional services that it’s virtually impossible for any one of us to achieve our goals alone. A good personal network,or support team, will help us source the information and people we need to succeed in marketing our professional services.

In selecting team members, consider as broad a range of people as possible. Remember that to help you, your contacts need not be marketing experts, nor must they be knowledgeable about the professional service that you provide.

The only criterion that they must meet is knowing people whom you do not know.

There is a clear role for potential and active clients on your team. As noted below, these people can serve as windows on your market and also generate referrals.

The actual number of potential and active clients in your personal network depends upon your individual situation and circumstances. Unless individuals can make a significant contribution to your overall marketing effort, it’s better to include them in your keeping in touch strategy (Chapter 16) than as members of your personal network.

Everyone has an existing network of personal contacts. As well as family and friends, these people include:

  • business associates
  • current and past clients and suppliers
  • members of the same clubs and organizations as you
  • members of your religious or ethnic community
  • co-workers from previous jobs
  • your health care professionals or legal or financial advisor
  • people you met at conferences, conventions and on holidays
  • teachers, professors and instructors from school and other training activities
  • former classmates

According to British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, 150 individuals is the maximum number with whom we can maintain authentic relationships. This would be a good upper limit to the size of your support team. Included in this number would be your marketing dream team (Chapter 9) and colleagues or referral partners (Chapter 15).

Excluded from this list would be the list of people with whom you are keeping in touch, such as past and potential clients, and also your social media connections, friends and followers.

Speaking of social media, high volume applications such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can help you find and reconnect with long lost personal contacts.

To learn more about building your extended support team, click here.

Professional services are not standardized mass-produced items.

Nor are they objective scientific processes that will generate identical results each and every time they are applied.

Professional Services Are Unique

The services that you…I …and all other professionals deliver are unique, each and every time we serve individual clients.

And therein lies the biggest challenge for every one involved in professional service marketing whether service professionals themselves…or those of us who help professionals market their services.

There is no one-size-fits-all marketing solution for all service professionals, let alone for those of us who provide services virtually identical to those of our competitors.

In offering our assistance to potential clients, we offer our own unique combination of personality, skills and resources. Hopefully our ideal clients will recognize something in this combination that will be of genuine value to them.

In serving our clients, we draw upon whatever is available to help satisfy them. In some cases, it might be our reassuring personalities. In others it might be something from our professional training and experience. And in still others, it might be a referral to one of our network contacts.

In an ideal world, once we had satisfied a client with our service, we could duplicate the service to satisfy other similar clients. Having documented our steps in serving the client, would give the process a fancy name and archive it for future use with another client.

Similar In Nature, Different In Scope

Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world.

Future clients might need some of the same kinds of services that we just completed. Or maybe they need something similar in nature but different in scope.

Realistically, seemingly similar clients can and usually do have different needs, wants and expectations.

From a marketing perspective, how can we help individual prospects understand that our professional services can and help them satisfy their needs?

In other words, how do we successfully meet the biggest challenge of marketing professional services?