The Professional Market-place Is Changing
Once upon a time
...not so very long ago, professionals were seen as knowledgeable, helpful and trustworthy.
They were respected - revered even - and families passed valuable advice about 'their' professionals down to the next generation. Professionals were a reassuring part of the structure of society.
Things have evolved, piecemeal and often unannounced, to a different picture.
Nuclear family structures have changed; social mobility has increased; the expectation of choice and fast delivery has grown. Professionals have become more human, “like us”, less awesome... and the internet has taken easy window-shopping to new levels of popularity.
Many professionals – especially the experienced, senior, partner/director – may have had to jump to catch up with the changes, and are probably not entirely at ease with how things are nowadays.
The marketplace has become increasingly competitive
Various forces have triggered this:
- increased availability of training
- increased need in the population
- increased intervention by regulators
- commercial focus from new businesses
Professional firms' approaches to marketing their services has gained speed, and has started to resemble the more typical commercial situation. For instance:
"The evolution of the legal marketplace [ ] is beginning to OUTPACE those firms making only conservative changes and REWARDING those moving with the times."
(LexisNexis Bellwether Report 2018: The Culture Clash) (my emphasis)
Taking your enterprise to market
However, marketing any form of service has always been different to marketing physical products.
And marketing professional services is even more different.
Professionals are trained and qualified in the knowledge and skills of their profession. But that training usually provides very little about how to find clients - or rather, how to help clients find you. There may be a suggestion that clients will arrive under their own steam when they need your help. But in the real market-place you have to do more than that.
This website is for professionals like Solicitors, Accountants, Architects, Surveyors, Engineers, Doctors, Consultants, etc. It will help you to consider:
- where your marketing fits in the commercial universe
- how your potential clients experience it
- what you can do to improve its helpfulness for them
which will help you design marketing that suits your firms' needs.
It explains a new perspective on your marketing as a Client Attracting Pathway:
- it is much more than advertising, it is (almost) everything your firm does in public,
- it is an active endeavour to attract the clients you want,
- and it is a series of steps, not a single event.
which frame the services I provide:
After my science degree, I worked in psychological and related services for many years.
Over the course of my 45+ year career, I've been an employee, a supervisor, a manager, a director, a consultant, a trustee; a founder and a dogsbody; a professional and a businessman. I have been a regulated professional, a national professional association committee member and a national regulator.
I have worked one-to-one with all sorts of people, some who had the greatest needs imaginable for confidentiality. I've worked with teams and whole businesses, and charities.
I know how things have changed, and I too have worked to keep up.
As a youngster, I set up my own antique shop as a way of relaxing. Since then I've restored houses, built barns and learned many trades.
As a small business, I know how important marketing is to compete with national and global firms. I also know that it is difficult to be sure about the results you get from marketing. None-the-less, I am convinced that standing still is not an option.
But still, how do you chose which sort of marketing? Who's advice do you follow? And what if...?
I provide Guarantees of my work
I stepped outside my own business and asked myself, what Guarantees would I want to instruct me? And I realised there were five, which I am happy to produce for you here:
1. Professional Guarantee
I am independent and impartial, discreet and confidential.
2. Unique-to-You Guarantee
Your plan is tailor-made for you because it is built on your priorities.
3. Direct Debit Guarantee
This protects you against payments made in error or fraudulently.
4. Easy Stop Guarantee
You can stop at any time and pay only for the work completed.
5. Money-Back Guarantee
I am determined to get the best results for you: So if you truly get nothing out of this service I will give your money back. (This has never been claimed!)
I provide free professional advice
Like most professionals, I provide free advice on the situation people find themselves in.
- I publish a fairly frequent Short Thoughts blog.
- I provide a free website performance checkup: 20 vital health statistics to guide your plans.
- And I answer questions about marketing for professionals by phone or email.
This helps people to orientate themselves in what may be an unfamiliar environment, and it also helps me put together an initial plan for them.
Sometimes the plan will include services I deliver, other times it is as well to be clear that I personally cannot help. As well as being ethical, it is my priority to be as helpful as possible.
Even if you are uncertain what the 'right' question is (there are no wrong questions!), please do accept my invitation to start a conversation that could be helpful to you.
Call me on 01983 614795 or email me here: 'Dave, could I ask...'.