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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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.

Despite all the confusing rhetoric surrounding the so-called financial cliff, it may well represent a unique opportunity for marketing professional service.

That’s not to say that the conduct of the principal players in Washington is in any way positive or responsible. From my limited understanding of the situation, the impasse is based more on political issues than pure economic considerations.

Be that as it may, the reality is that individual service professionals cannot control either the discussions in Washington or the outcome of these discussions. What we can and should control is our response to the ultimate outcome, whatever that might be.

While it might appear difficult to plan an appropriate response when we do not yet know what the outcome will be, that need not be the case.

As is usually the case, the best approach is to keep things simple.

Like you and anyone else who is aware of the financial cliff and its potential consequences, our clients are probably concerned about about how they, and perhaps their businesses, might be affected by the outcome. What can you do to help address this concern?

Instead of joining the discussion of the impasse and most likely adding to the confusion, stick to what you do best: look after your clients.

Reassure them that whatever the outcome, you remain committed to assisting them in the same way you always have.

Clearly this will not resolve the fiscal cliff issue or even hep your clients ignore it. It will however help enhance your existing relationship with clients. Even better, in reminding clients how you have helped them in the past, your connecting with them might be the catalyst for repeat business or more referrals. You just never know.

For more information on connecting with clients see Keeping Connections Strong.

 

Like many service professionals, Martha’s marketing performance assessment is a mixture of factors that are good, bad and just plain ugly.

One good features are that she has continued to operate her business for 14 years. During this time, she has developed a track record of serving clients and connecting with like-minded business contacts. She also has a data base of almost 500 contacts.

From the bad feature column, she reports that she keeps in touch with with these contacts and past clients ‘once in a while’. Apart from seldom used Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, social media does not play a role in her marketing.

That’s a problem: it seriously limits her ability to generate repeat business from satisfied clients and referrals from contacts and past clients alike. It also prevents her from connecting with that huge portion of the market that uses social media to start the search for professional services.

The really ugly factor is that Martha seems to have lost touch with her market and her clients. The assessment includes questions about clients’ needs,wants and expectations, as well as market conditions such as competitors and shifting market conditions. Consistently her answers to these questions were either to repeat marketing copy or simply, ‘I don’t know’.

Martha’s major marketing challenge is to reconnect with her market and her clients, probably making more effective use of social media.

At a deeper level, it seems to me that Martha has lost interest in her business. If this is in fact the case, the biggest issue to address is how serious she is about investing resources in re-energizing the business.

Fortunately, we have a coaching session scheduled for tomorrow. At that time, I will initiate discussion to help assess her current level of interest in her business.

Based on my summary of Martha’s situation, what questions would you want to ask her?

Post your questions in the comment box below and I’ll try to work them into the conversation.

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To complete your own marketing performance assessment, click here.

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