Are you ready — maybe over-ready — for a change in marketing direction?
Unless you are flush with client business and record-breaking profits, you need to read this book. Like your business, it’s all about referrals and qualified leads that turn into clients. You’ll get a new perspective on the business you are really in.
If, however, what you really want is a three inch thick, all-encompassing textbook to look good on your bookshelf, save your money.
The Marketing Machine® for Professional Services cuts to the chase.
Joe and I are a team, with $billions in professional marketing and sales experience. We get to the point in plain and simple language. Our success formula:
- Perfect Your Process – A haphazard, “winging it” approach to finding clients and addressing their needs makes prospects skeptical. When you follow a consistent, disciplined playbook it inspires confidence in you and your firm.
- Define Your Desired Client Base – Not all clients are alike and neither are their needs . . . or their profitability to you. It’s absolutely critical that you identify the characteristics of clients you can serve successfully and profitably. The Marketing Machine® for Professional Services helps you focus your marketing on these prospects and only these.
- Know How Many Clients You Want – How many new prospects can you and your firm handle each week and still deliver top notch services?
Get these three things right and you’ll build a smooth-running and profitable practice. Get any one of them wrong and you’ll face an endless uphill challenge.
Want more? Take a look at the extensive preview copy below . . .
Dedication from Joe Krueger
Three mentors are largely “to blame” for my consulting career:
- Pete Shugart, Industrial Direct Mail Consultant – Pete insisted that I had a natural instinct for Direct Response Advertising and began referring clients before I even knew what I was getting into.
- Dick Hammond, Mailing List Broker – Dick taught me about the list, the single most important factor in getting breakthrough response to Direct Marketing campaigns.
- Hank Burnett, Copywriter and Creative Director – Hank taught me that great advertising copy comes easily once you have the strategy right . . . not before!
The purpose of this book is to educate, and not to provide you with any legal, accounting, or other form of business advice. As the authors and publisher, Dentrovisi, Incorporated dba The Marketing Machine® does not warrant that the information contained in this report is fully complete and we shall not be responsible for any errors, omissions, or contradictory information. You as reader bear the responsibility to verify the contents. We urge you to be especially diligent in this because the business landscape in which we are all working is changing rapidly.
Your success with using the techniques and ideas in the book is not guaranteed. Each individual’s success depends on his/her dedication, motivation, and background. As with any business endeavor, there is an inherent risk of loss of capital; you assume full responsibility for how you use these materials and information.
Machine® is a federally registered trademark of Joseph A.
Krueger and Dentrovisi Incorporated (licensee).
Contents of The Marketing Machine® for Professional Services
1 – Understanding the Business You Are Really In
Okay, let’s talk about sales. Yes, your sales.
Marketing is more than sponsorships and trinkets
You do have to understand what’s holding you back
The answer? Let others do the pre-selling for you!
2 – Aren’t My Credentials and Degrees My Real Marketing?
Unfortunately, most professionals are behind the times.
Fast forward to today’s hyper speed marketplace.
Selling professional services is “pulling” as opposed to “pushing.”
The disciplined sales process requires a number of marketing tools.
3 – Referrals May Be The Best Source of Clients . . . But Are They Always?
A referral system starts with your network . . . your “sphere of influence.”
Personal contacts are not your best referral source over the long haul.
The best referrals will start to come from people who don’t know you.
What role does social media play in your prospecting?
4 – How Do I Know Which Referrals Will Be Profitable?
Putting a dollar value on your average client
Using the LTCV formula
Build a profile” of the clients on List 1.
Build referral source profiles for lists 2 and 3.
5 – Selling Professional Services is a Two Phase Process
The successful professional masters the art of “reverse selling.”
Another name for this process is “attraction marketing.”
Authority marketing attracts qualified inquiries.
How do you achieve “authority” status?
6- Shaping your Practice with a Good Marketing Plan
Your plan matches client needs with your firm’s strengths.
The Plan’s flaws will be revealed early on.
What strategies will you be testing?
Don’t overlook classic marketing tools and tactics.
Definitely incorporate electronic or online media.
No matter the medium, professional services marketing requires discipline.
7 – The Professional’s Sales Process and The Role of Each Stage
Hold your fire until you see the whites of their eyes.
Each step in the sales sequence “sells” only the next step.
8 –Building Your Brand and Selling into “The Long Game”
Back to the drawing board for the Unique Value Proposition
9 – Using Direct Mail to Generate Leads and Stimulate Referrals
The bottom line: You don’t care about the cost of the mailing
“Well, let’s try some direct mail to see if it works.”
10 – Feeding Your Referral Engine
Why is pro bono work important and how do you make it win-win?
What about attending conventions?
With so many potential marketing activities, where should I begin?
11 – Your Website is the Hub of Your Marketing Plan.
12 – The Role of Publishing in Establishing Your “Authority”
Rest easy. Help is everywhere for you.
1-Conferences and Conventions: Seven Questions to Ask Before You Invest in Your Next One
- Introduction – The Conference Investment
- Question One – Have You Picked The Right Show?
- Question Two – Have You Set Specific Goals For This Show?
- Question Three – Who Do You Want To Connect With?
- Question Four – Do You Have A Cheat Sheet For Each Session?
- Question Five – Are You Primed For Networking?
- Question Six – What’s Your Plan For Following Up?
- Question Seven – How Do You Measure Value?
2-The Direct Mail Process
3-Write your book, dammit!
4–Example of a Lead Generation Program uniquely suited for professional services firms
Some Final Words and a Couple of Offers from the Authors
Preface to The Marketing Machine® for Professional Services
Why another book on sales and marketing? Hasn’t everything that can be said about advertising, marketing and sales already been said, re-said, regurgitated and published in virtually every form possible?
Whether the answer is “yes” or not, some people still haven’t gotten the message. Why not?
That’s not an easy question to answer without a little history of how we got here.
I’ll keep this short and then give you a three point answer.
I (Joe) got into the marketing world pretty much by accident. Having started off my professional life as an electronics engineer-turned counterspy and industrial security executive, I came into the field with an odd set of expectations. Virginia, trained as an educator-turned-Financial- Planner, was a marketer by default, being responsible for building the client base for her firm.
We began specializing in lead generation programs for major corporations, including financial giants like American Express, Charles Schwab, Bank One, Wells Fargo and scores of others. What we learned about the business of generating inquiries for products and services would set new standards for the creation and strategic use of direct mail by corporate America.
Three decades later, happily laden with accolades, awards and a history of nearly $5 Billion in sales for national and international clients, Virginia and I decided to change focus. For the past few years we have been working with professional services providers, smaller, socially responsible businesses and environmentally friendly organizations that couldn’t afford major marketing agencies.
We expect this book to be criticized for lumping all professional services together and we accept the criticism. But we’re starting this way because we’ve discovered some consistent themes that seem to apply in all these businesses.
Maybe that’s because professionals are, by definition, a breed apart!
In any case, we will soon hit the press with the rest of the series: The Marketing Machine® for Accountants, the Marketing Machine® for Attorneys and The Marketing Machine ® for Financial Advisors, etc. Each will address specific ways these professionals can aggressively promote their services, but always with dignity and respect for their prospects and their competitors.
These marketing problems make it necessary.
Our objective in writing this book is to address the three most important points in the professional’s marketing activities that are all too often neglected in whole or in part:
- First – Most marketing books directed to professional services offer a single recommended solution to their lead generation needs. The recommendation is usually more about the author’s experience and biases than about the reader’s personal needs and actual capabilities.
We recommend that a system of business development be built around the particular skills of the principals, the characteristics of their marketplace and their positioning vis-à-vis the competition. Even though it’s a “system,” every system will be different.
- Second – While no one denies the importance of referrals to a professional service, most fail to address the need for controls on the nature, quantity and quality of referrals. The truth is that unsolicited referrals can be inappropriate for the firm’s skillset, its size or current needs. Without the controls of disciplined management they can be disruptive to the firm and ultimately be proven unprofitable and even disastrous.
- Third – Perhaps the single most important message we have for members of the professional services – and in particular the small office “solopreneurs” – is to avoid the tendency toward “roller coaster marketing.” We all love the work we do for clients. We want to give our all on their behalf. In so doing, though, when we’re flush with business we sell ourselves short! We neglect marketing for our most important long-term client . . . ourselves.
We hope you will find our challenges to these three points worthy of your purchase and that you’ll look forward to our future works, particularly when we focus directly on your specialty.
Joseph Krueger & Virginia Nicols
Introduction to The Marketing Machine® for Professional Services
This is a book about marketing your professional practice. What can you expect from it?
First, be warned that it is not an all-encompassing book on marketing and selling. We struggled with the temptation to create a more thorough work, but came to the conclusion that too much detail for too wide an audience would run the risk of misleading some readers.
Besides, the reality today is that thick volumes simply don’t get read by busy people. And our target audience is mostly working professionals who can benefit by narrowing their marketing efforts to fit their skillset.
I trust you fit that definition!
First, we will explore a number of media that can play a role in promoting your firm and your services. This overview will make you feel a lot more comfortable about marketing options in general. You will notice that we do not dwell on social media, and that’s on purpose. We find that the popularity of various social media fluctuates and how to use the different platforms changes regularly. Our goal is to create a systematic marketing program, so we tend to focus on media that can be controlled.
Second, as you learn more about each of the options, you’ll find it easier to pick just the ones that make sense for you. We’ll simplify things even more by steering you away from some of them!
Third, by the time you’re through, you’ll have a good idea of how to get started on your customized plan.
Your plan has to be customized, because marketing a professional practice just isn’t the same as marketing a company that sells a product or, for that matter, a service. And YOUR practice is a reflection of you as well as of your specialty, which makes it even more distinctive.
Let’s look into that a bit more deeply.
What sets the professional practice apart?
Your professional practice is different from a company that sells a product. Three things that make it different:
You’re selling your talents, knowledge and experience as the solution to a problem, very often a unique problem. (Certainly, clients believe their problems are unique!) A one-size-fits-all solution (product) won’t do, and can’t effectively be advertised.
Because of the personal nature of the relationship, the practice takes on a big risk — coming up with a customized solution that fits the client perfectly. And to lessen the risk, you need clients who fit your skills.
The value of the solution often needs to be defined – and it’s best when you help a client define it up front. This allows you to charge what you need to charge!
All this “uniqueness” sounds pretty hard to make a plan around, I know. But there is a common thread that runs through all marketing for professional services, and that’s what this book is all about.
All businesses benefit from referrals. Professionals can’t survive without them. Moreover, no professional practice can prosper without a continuous flow of legitimate referrals.
Why is it so hard to get that flow going? Here are a couple of thoughts about that, based on many years’ experience.
The common wisdom is that referrals are free.
Nothing could be further from the truth!
Certainly, the person making a legitimate referral does not normally anticipate payment. On the other hand, if you expect friends, associates and clients to offer legitimate referrals then you have to educate them!
More than that, you have to educate each referral source – friend, associate or client – differently. All that educating certainly isn’t free.
Another common assumption is that if people know you well, they are in a position to give you great referrals.
And again, this “wisdom” is flawed. Genuine respect or enthusiasm for you as a person helps, but if your referral sources don’t understand what it is you really do, generally how much you charge and which of their friends or associates is likely to be the “right fit” for your services, they are likely to send you absolutely the WRONG referrals!
Remember the comment above about our “steering you away from some marketing methods?” Well, here’s a piece of advice to start with:
The wrong referrals cost you more than money.
Referrals to the wrong people put you in a difficult, even embarrassing position. They waste your time. They tie up your emotions. They cost you money.
And because you can’t serve them well, they can poison the well for future business.
Our goal with this book is to help you build a healthy referral “system” based on a solid understanding of your own strengths, the kinds of problems you solve and the kinds of clients you welcome.
A couple of afterthoughts . . .
I know of no other business category where “chemistry” is more important than for professionals. Clients are buying you perhaps even more than what you’re selling. Getting to know, like and trust you is key to that chemistry you want to be present as you embark on this new relationship.
Building a business so dependent on people and knowledge is a balancing act. If you wake up one morning and find 70% of your base revenues coming from one client, your alarm bells should be going off along with the alarm clock.
Unbalanced growth can strain your finances as well as your staffing . . . and your reputation. Some choices are likely on your horizon