The Professional Market-place Is Changing

Dave Simon

Once upon a time

     ...not so very long ago, professionals were seen as knowledgeable, helpful and trustworthy.

They were respected - revered even.
Families passed valuable advice about 'their' professionals down to the next generation.
Professionals were a reassuring part of the structure of society.

The professional environment has evolved, piecemeal and often unannounced:

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 window-shopping to new levels of speed and popularity.

Many professionals – especially the experienced, senior, partner/director – may have had to jump to catch up with the changes, and my still not be entirely at ease with how things are these days.

The market-place has become increasingly competitive

Various forces have accelerated this:

  • increased availability of training
  • increased need in the population
  • increased intervention by regulators
  • commercial focus from new businesses

Professional firms' revisions of their marketing have gained speed.
This 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 from academics 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:

  1. where your marketing fits in the commercial universe
  2. how your potential clients experience it
  3. what you can do to improve its helpfulness for them

which will help you review and re-design marketing that better suits your firms' futureneeds.

It explains a new perspective on your marketing as a Client Attracting Pathway:

  • this 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 all frame the services I provide.

My Beginnings

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...?

My Guarantees

I stepped outside my own business and asked myself, what Guarantees would I want from a provider? 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!)

These are lifetime goodwill guarantees.

They start on your first enquiry and continue after all work together has ceased.

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...'.


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