Professional Services: From Sales to Marketing
February 04, 2016
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Every branch of professional services in Ukraine faces gradual commoditization of some services. Clients are not inclined to dig deep into the professional nuances but want to find out the price for any particular service outright like they do when purchasing goods.
Why not? For example, a CFO after providing the prospective partner audit firm only with the data on sales/revenues and nature of operations demands to hear the price for audit right away over the phone. That is why a lot of firms are forced to resort to damping in order to satisfy the client.
Of course, the partners at professional services firms must bring new business to their company. But should they ingratiate themselves with clients? On the other hand, why do the latter should purchase your services above all others? If you have an answer to the second question, you will be able to avoid the situations when your prices are going down the descending spiral.
Don’t forget the risks which your prospective clients face if they decide to work with your professional services firm. If a client goes to a new restaurant and doesn’t like it there, he isn’t obliged to go there again. However if a businessman chooses an incompetent lawyer the stakes and risks might grow exponentially. A client can lose control over his property or a company itself or sell his business at a lower assessment ratio due to the negligent audit.
You can avoid having a tiger by the tail in sales in two ways. First of all, engage all the employees in the sales process to disseminate the pressure and join efforts. Undoubtedly, the example of acquiring new clients should be shown by top managers. On the other hand, if you would like to shift the focus from the sales altogether, then you definitely should stake on the absolutely perfect marketing.
Comprehensive marketing – what is it?
Some professional services firms spend their budgets on pricey advertisements in glossy magazines or invite their target audience to the luxury parties while considering all this to be company’s marketing. Such strategy is unlikely to become long-term and effective in retaining and acquiring clients in the sphere of audit, law or any other kind of consulting. The good thing is that apart from the abovementioned method which is quite obvious, there are tons of ways to make your company not comparable in terms of prices. The most frequent way of differentiation in the world of professional services is creation of experts’ brands including both personal brands of partners at a company and company’s one serving as the umbrella brand.
Many of us have been taught at school that if you work much and persistently, sooner or later your efforts will be rewarded by the high appraisal of your professional expertise. Which means that you will become successful.
Alas, it’s not that simple as that nowadays. Hard work is no more than the beginning of a journey. The true key to joining the community of experts is… the recognition of you as being such.
The best way to win recognition as an expert is to find relatively non-compatible practice or consulting branch. Start creating unique content on this subject regularly using Internet platform which is the most relevant for your business. No question, that Instagram will suit a photographer or a chef more than an auditor. Online business editions should also be chosen accordingly.
Once you’ve reached maximum frequency of content publishing (minimum – once a week) on behalf of a company, or, what’s even better – on behalf of the experts which are key figures in your marketing strategy, you can count on being asked for an interview first, and later – to speak at the events. That’s how “Google almighty” works and that’s how you include other channels in the circle of your content.
How does it work?
Never call yourself an expert. Wait until others name you that.The golden rule is: never call yourself an expert. Wait until others name you that. It’s a significant advantage in the world of contenders and information pretenders to truly be an expert rather than be called an expert. The second rule is to make your content so valuable for your target audience that they start sharing it willingly and chime in on a topic that you have suggested. Remember that no one is interested in sharing sales offers but forwarding valuable information is hard to resist. Besides, it makes an audience be associated with an expert.
That is the gist of one of the multiplying patterns of the social networks. Users actively repost content which they have not created but would like to show their competence by means of passive actions. Your copy should be as short as the platform you post to allows. At the same time the content should be innovative enough to make your audience feel that they are doing their friends a favor by sharing it.
To wrap it up – do not be too boring and serious. In simple words, successful brands bring pleasure to those who create the wave of content distribution. Use the same common words you hear in the offices. Regularly update pictures supplementing your content. Give preference to the illustrations as witty and extraordinary as the platform accepts. Your brand is a continuation of your passion and your ability to find opportunities where others do not see them as well as to share this insight with others.
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