If you love serving clients, but hate marketing…or are too busy to market … help is on the way.

Too many professionals see marketing as shameless self-promotion and aggressively pitching their services. Perhaps the norm in other businesses, these techniques don’t help market professional services.

Marketing professional services is about generating more new business.

There are two primary sources of new business.

The best source is repeat business from current and past clients.

The next best source is referrals from friends and family, clients and contacts.

Along with six other experienced professionals I am developing a website that help you learn what you need to know to generate more repeat and referral business. Watch for the launch of this site, coming soon.

If however, you enjoy marketing professional services, and want to join participate in the development, let me know. Experienced professionals are always welcome.

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Marketing professional services is more than self-promotion and advertising. It’s all about generating more new business.

There are many ways generate more business from selling commodities.

However, professional services are not commodities.

For professionals, there are two fundamental techniques for generating new business:

  1. repeat business from current and past clients
  2. referrals from friends and family, clients and contacts

If you want more new business, you will need more repeat and referral business. It’s as simple as that.

The same approaches that help satisfy clients will also help generate more repeat and referral business.

Marketing Professional Services Is Like Serving Clients…Really!

Marketing is something that we all know we should be doing…but realistically few of us enjoy it, even a little bit.

Instead of trying to overcome whatever dislike of marketing you may have, let’s consider marketing as an extension of client service.

Here are five factors that help clarify how professional service marketing is like client service:

Client-focused

In serving our clients, a professionals we help identify and meet individual needs, instead of applying standardized ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions. Similarly, the best marketing illustrates how we help individual clients instead of trying to be all things to all people.

Relationship-oriented

The best client service is based upon mutually rewarding relationships between professional service provider and their clients.

The best marketing includes building and maintaining relationships between you as a professional and your potentially ideal clients.

Conversational

In-person conversations between professionals and their clients are conversational…not speeches, monologues, lectures or other one-way delivery of messages. Professional service marketing communications are also conversational.

Educational

For the most part, client service include elements of education.

Educational in nature, professional service marketing offers new information…not just repeating the same old same old message. From a marketing perspective, the business that educates the most attracts the most new business.

Your Best Stuff

Regardless of the nature of your clients or the help they need from you, as a professional you deliver your best service… not just a bare minimum. In marketing their services, successful professionals showcase their own best stuff, instead of accepting the lowest common denominator commonly adopted by others.

To learn more about generating more new business, click here.

Last week’s blog Best Professional Service Marketing Strategies could be considered the marketing application of the ‘Less-Is-More‘ principle.

Based on a survey asking over 10,000 consultants how they marketed their services, the post identified networking and referrals as the source of most money. These strategies are just two of 13 identified marketing activities.

Consistent with the the ‘Less-Is-More‘ principle, 78% of respondents reported spending less than $6000 on marketing each year.

Focus On What Generates The Most Revenue

The lesson here is to focus resources on those strategies that generate the most revenue.

Another key finding of the survey addresses clients served and the fee average fee revenue that they generate.

Once again, consistent with the ‘Less-Is-More‘ principle 87% of respondents report working with fewer than 20 clients each year.

But these clients pay well: 93% of responding consultants report average the first time fee from new clients to be more than $500, with 61% reporting these fees to be greater than $2000.

Applying The Insights

For the sake of completeness, 68% of respondents typically charge on a monthly or project basis.

As a model for marketing all professional services, this survey offers two great insights.

In terms of marketing our services, the best approach is to narrow the focus to those strategies that work best for us…probably networking and referrals. But keep in mind that the other 11 strategies can support primary strategies.

Similarly, instead of trying to help everyone who could conceivably benefit from your assistance, focus on serving and satisfying a few ideal clients.

Ideal clients truly appreciate the value that you deliver…and are prepared to pay the higher fees that you charge and deserve.

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As service professionals, we tend to rely more on our experience and intuition than objective research. This really isn’t surprising: few of us have the resources to undertake serious research. For most of us, our research is seldom more than a quick scan of blogs and online posts.

Whenever I come across some sound research that is interesting, and even better, relevant to my work, it’s definitely worth a serious review.

Yesterday this happy circumstance popped up on my computer screen.

Marketing Trends And Strategies For Consultants

Marketing trends and strategies for consultants  surveyed the types of marketing activities on which consultants spend their time. It also compared how the time spent resulted in income. If you are serious about marketing more effectively and efficiently, this report is a must-read.

From my perspective, the most reassuring finding of the report confirms several of my experience and intuitive based beliefs.

I have always believed and continue to believe that networking and referrals are the two best marketing strategies for service professionals. The survey results indicate that 70% of the respondents report these two strategies have made the most money for their businesses.

Time & Money Spent

Given the importance of these strategies, it’s not surprising that the respondents also report spending 57% of their time on these activities. Obviously, it makes sense to spend most of your marketing time on those activities that generate the best results.

There are a couple of other interesting findings.

The report indicates that the third highest amount of respondents’ time is devoted to the marketing activity that is the third lowest money-making strategy.

In numerical terms, 10% of the respondents spend the most time on social media, which only 2% of the consultants report as having generated the most money. Not sure about you, but I’ve come to believe that social media can consume a ton of time while generating generally unsatisfactory results.

The survey also asked about money spent on marketing each year. Once again, no big surprise here.

Of the more than 10,000 consultants surveyed, 78% reported spending less than $6000 each year.

Regardless of whether or not you are a consultant, the same considerations apply to your marketing.

How can you spend your marketing time and budget to generate the most money for your business?

 

Do you, or some one you know, face the perplexing problem of wanting help with professional service marketing… but lack the cash flow to pay to for the help?

If so, you are not alone. Many outstanding service professionals occasionally face the temporary condition of cashlessness.

Maybe I can help resolve that perplexing marketing problem.

Like all businesses and self-employed professionals, I obviously need cash flow.

However, like all other businesses, I need and what other things as well. What do I need/want?

  • referrals
  • web design & upgrade
  • graphic design for my website
  • e-book design and formatting
  • new smart phone 🙂

With the exception of referrals, I can certainly exchange some of my fee-generated money for these things. But I can also also exchange the value of my coaching service for the value of other people’s goods and services. And that’s exactly what I am prepared to do, for a limited number of service professionals.

If you, or some one you know, believe that with my coaching help, you can attract more and perhaps better clients, I’d like help. And if you are facing the temporary condition of cashlessness, instead of exchanging value of cash, let’s exchange value for value.

If you know service professionals who might be ideal clients for me, in return for my coaching help, you might referral some of these clients to me.

Similarly, if you provide services or goods that I have listed, you could exchange appropriate goods or services in return for coaching help. It’s also possible that you could provide a different product or service that would help make me healthier, wealthier or wiser. That could work too.

The bottom line: temporary cashlessness need not be an obstacle to attracting new clients. I’m quite prepared to exchange value for value. What value can you being to the exchange?

Larry

 

PS:

To learn more about my coaching services, see: Coaching on Demand and Ongoing Coaching.

On Monday, I wrote about clearing the decks as a great start to 2013.

In response, Todd Bonner of MEP Engineering commented:

“Believe it or not, Larry, I have been thinking a great deal about this subject over the past couple of months. Bound up in this discussion is the proverbial “shiny new thing” syndrome that dissipates focus and leaves most initiatives incomplete. I deal with this on a daily basis on personal and business fronts. It seems that creativity and easy distraction do go hand in hand, unfortunately.”

Funny thing happened on the way to developing this post based on Todd’s comment.

When I reread my Monday post, I found myself somewhat puzzled by my own words: “…when one of my new initiatives crashed sooner than expected.” I was at a momentary loss trying to remember what initiative had crashed. This was surprising because I have been blessed with a very good memory.

It was only when I consciously worked through what I did on the weekend that I was able to remember what had crashed. Oh yeah…that idea. It was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing based on an item that flashed past my eyes on the computer screen.

How important was the idea if I had forgotten about it three days after an incidental mention it? Obviously not a critical element of either my business or marketing planning.

This in turn raises the question of how relevant is the proverbial “shiny new thing” to your ultimate marketing or business success? Obviously some new things help us become healthier, wealthier and/or wiser. But my sense is that most new things are little more than energy-draining distractions.

Which leads to the second part of Todd’s comment:

“My takeaways from the article?

“(1) Follow your lead and focus in on two highest-yield social platforms for B2B while ignoring the 100 other possible platforms, and

“(2) put all remaining effort into developing consistent, authentic and valuable MEP Engineering related blog content to engage potential clients. If that’s all we “get done” in 2013, I believe we will be in good shape.”

Assuming by social platforms, Todd means social media applications such as LinkedIn and Facebook, I couldn’t agree more with his takeaway (1).

For all businesses, including service professionals, social media marketing supplements traditional marketing such as networking, referrals and keeping in touch. Messing around on more than two social media applications will drain a lot of time and energy with virtually no payback.

As for takeaway (2), Todd has nailed the keys to effective blogging: consistent, authentic and valuable.

Ensuring that our blogs meet these three criteria will help ensure that we will be in good shape for 2013.

Thanks Todd…good comment.

 

Each in its own way, the following strategies will help you connect with potentially ideal clients.

These strategies can also be effectively applied offline and online.

Networking

Through a planned networking program, you can add people you know to your marketing activities. Since they know people you don’t know, your network contacts can connect you with people who need your help.

Thanks to the Internet in general and social media in particular, you can extend your network of contacts beyond the people whom you meet in person.

Direct Contact

Provided you act professionally and avoid SPAM, there is no reason that you can’t reach out and connect with specific individuals. This focused outreach will help you add key contacts to your network and start to build relationships with people who might need your help.

Referrals & Recommendations

The best source of new business, referrals & recommendations can generate a sustainable flow of people with whom you enjoy or can develop sound business relationships. For best results, you will need a system to ensure that you capitalize on every opportunity.

Keeping In Touch

New clients represent more than simply the fees from the initial engagement. During the time that they continue to do business with you, they can generate a significant amount of income (their lifetime value) by hiring you again and also referring others to you.

To maximize this lifetime value, it’s necessary to keep in touch with clients, contacts and any one else who can help you attract and serve clients.

Writing For Publication & Public Speaking

Few things will position you as an expert in your field better than these two activities. This is show & tell marketing at its best. In practice this means, instead of telling prospective clients how competent and trustworthy you are…you show them.

To learn more, see I Am A Professional!