Why Professional Firms Have No Clue Marketing Themselves
As an educated professional, your success is entirely based on your expertise, what you know, your education, creativity, and your intelligence. Even if you’re just starting out, you’ve achieved, reached a level of success that most people never will.
Your clients return, they refer you to others because of your level of competence and insight, which results in the appropriate solutions for their unique situations. But who’s really growing your business while you’re busily tending to your clients’ needs.
What are you doing to attract a new steady stream of qualified motivated prospects. How do you search for, find and convert these potential clients who’ll pay you what you’re worth.
Like most professionals, you may not have the immediate answers to these questions, this because the solution involves marketing, promoting yourself, something that you may be completely unfamiliar about.
Sure, referrals are a decent source of new clients, but they’re just one solution, this in a variety of available strategies for guaranteeing that you’ll have new interested clients for as long as you want.
It also doesn’t matter how many referrals you get, if you have no idea how to build and extend the potential relationship with these new referrals that you’re getting.
Assume Your Position
As a smart business person, you have lots of options at your disposal for attracting new clients to your firm. It also doesn’t need to include the expensive “marketing” avenues such as slick brochures, advertising, or direct mail.
Realize that your professional expertise alone won’t differentiate you in a crowded marketplace, nor will it bring clients knocking at your door. You’ve got to tell them that you exist, while helping them understand why you’re better, different.
Tell them why you’re qualified to uniquely address their needs. This is known as positioning. It takes a bit of thoughtful and creative work to get this right, and the first step in attracting new clients.
Positioning Yourself For Success
Once you’ve determined your positioning, you need to take several steps which should bring in new clients to you or your firm: packaging, promotion, persuasion, and performance.
Each step requires you to communicate with your target client audience in a variety of ways that they’ll understand, this in their need based “what can you do for me” language, and not in your “industry” language.
• Packaging: involves knowledge-sharing, reports, articles, surveys, websites, videos, books, and e-books
• Promotion: includes sharing your knowledge, speaking, writing, postcards, networking, seminars, webinars, referrals, newsletters, social media, and email marketing
• Persuasion: includes listening, openness, diagnosis, curiosity, education, visioning, asking questions, presentations, sharing, recommending, and assuring
• Positioning: involves knowing your niche, specialty, reputation, being client centric, having an unique competitive advantage, not taking “no” for an answer, commitment, congruence, and self knowledge
The chances are good that you’re on a learning curve in one or more of these steps. Even if you’ve been in business for a while, and have built up a successful firm and reputation, taking your practice to the next level means aiming for new metrics.
You need to ensure that your niche hasn’t grown stale, and that you’re learning new ways of reaching that next stage in your firm’s growth and maturity.
Your Brands Promise
For professionally designated firms, perhaps it’s time to pay more attention to how your firm delivers on your brands promise. Does the principals, management, and your staff all “walk the talk” on what you originally promised the marketplace.
If you serve internal clients inside of a large organization, and they need support or to buy-in to the services that your department offers, you can then place these principles and strategies to work. This so that your work will get noticed, get invited, and then attract positive attention.
Attracting More Clients
Raise the role of your strategic marketing efforts in your practice to a higher conscious level. Get it on the “to-do” agenda and then apply your manpower to it, just like you would with any other critical area of your business.
Create a niche market for your practice, you can’t be all things to all people. However, just because you enjoy working with a particular market segment, or prefer a special approach, it doesn’t mean that your target clients will.
A Different Viewpoint
Position yourself towards others through their “worldview,” and not through your industry jargon. Instead of saying, “I’m a strategy consultant,” say “I assist multi-national corporations increase their market share.” Obviously, you’d tailor the statement to fit whatever problem that you address.
Develop a system of marketing strategies which attracts new clients while retaining the current ones that you have. Begin with inspecting the metrics of what you’re wanting to change, or improve, this in your practice and then tie the system together by driving those metrics.
Develop a plan of action which translates your marketing system into specific segments and tasks, with real assignments and deadlines.
Developing A Marketing Plan
Commit yourself by putting in a system which keeps you motivated and on track as you work your plan. Build non-billable time into your business model that’s dedicated to marketing. A rule of thumb is that at least 20% percent of your firm’s time should be allocated to marketing.
Get expert help and resources if you need to get advice, including implementation. For most professional service firms, this requires getting away and discussing strategy among your key people.
Once you consider how important it is and what’s at stake, you’ll find it’s well worth the time and effort.
Intelligent, effective marketing requires patience along with the ability to see that it’s a long-term project, this to sustain new methods of relationship building with your current and future clients.