Monday, November 30, 2009

Tip #5: Tell your success stories

Professional practice groups - mediators, attorneys, CPAs, engineers, recruiters – should tell their stories of success. You don't need to brag, just point out how your service has helped your clients - especially in ways that your competitors can't match.

• Let prospects and referral sources see how your service works for people in tough situations.

• Tell stories that show how you've dealt with a common problem or a specialty case - both types of stories can lead to referrals for similar types of business.

• If your story has enough impact (tell the truth), people will remember it. Add important details, such as how you streamlined a process, saved money for the client, solved a problem that perplexed other professional providers, brought about a quick resolution, etc.

• Educate prospects and clients; they often don’t know the full range of how and when your professional service can be applied.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tip #4 - Seek media coverage

For professional service groups seeking new & repeat business, here's another tip.

What item of your business can you “pitch” to the media as a news story? Given the recession of 08-09, the media wants to know what’s coming down the pike in terms of job creation. Have you hired someone in your office lately? Or created a new position that you are filling with a contractor? Found a good niche market for your services? Why not share that with the appropriate media - maybe it’s not your daily paper but it could be good material for an industry journal or your local chamber magazine/online blog.

Small business news has its own panache. Consider teaming up with another professional service group or your association to report trends affecting your industry.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tip #3-Find your trigger

This is the third of seven tips designed to promote your professional service practice - whether it's a law firm, accounting firm, recruitment firm, mediation practice or engineering group:

Tip #3. Identify the “triggers” that prompt your services. Leverage these and bake them into your marketing plan.

• A trigger is an event, occurrence or other identifiable item that provides a logical time for you to sell your service/product.

• It could be a time or season when an event occurs (e.g. back to school, tax season)

• Review your quarterly sales to see when peaks occur and why – these could reveal unknown triggers

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Marketing Tip #2 for professional service groups

To promote your professional service practice - whether it's a law firm, accounting firm, recruitment firm, mediation practice or engineering group – here is another tip:

Tip #2. Point out the benefits of your service in your sales presentation and your marketing materials

• repeat your key messages – benefits and advantages – in your brochure, newsletter, direct mail, etc.

• when talking to prospective clients and referral sources, let your "benefits" line become your mantra.

• Add a tagline to your business card that tells what you do. Mine says, "Strategy, writing and design." While my main service is producing marketing materials to help professional service companies sell their service, I also write case statements for nonprofits, universities and health care companies trying to raise money. These skills are also being applied to produce anniversary books for large corporations - a new product line called "Minted Memories®". But the main benefits: "professional writing, pleasing design that helps tell the story, and strategy to determine the message, format and audience" can be applied to different markets. My advantage: very few companies do what I do. I have a niche business that is part public relations, marketing, and project management of print and web-based projects. These benefits and advantages are used to help solve the client's problem.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sales and marketing tips for professional practices

I presented a seminar “Marketing and Sales Team up for Mediation Business Success” on Nov. 13, 2009, at the Marriott Hotel in Pontiac, sponsored by Oakland Mediation Center.

I will do a series of seven take-away points that can be adapted by any professional practice:

Tip #1. Seek out and act on opportunities
• The more you know about your clients – their likes and interests – the more you can meet them on their turf. Find out what groups they belong to. Check the membership directory to see where members work.

• If you’re not generating leads and support from a certain group…try another group. Go to groups where you will get leads to business or better yet – people who need your services right then and there.

• Read newspapers (whether online or printed), keep abreast of local and national news and trends. Talk to people – find out where their pain is. What problem will your service solve? Then, act on those opportunities.