One of the keys to success in professional services is to move from transactional services, in which you perform a function in exchange for payment, towards becoming a trusted advisor. As an advisor, the work is more interesting, it pays better, and you’re less likely to be undercut by a competitor who lowballs a fee in order to grab the business.
The right content strategy can get you there.
Gaining your clients’ trust is huge. If your clients trust you,
• They’ll believe your recommendations on other ways you can help them.
• They’ll leave you some breathing room if you’re overworked – because you’ve shown them you’ll deliver.
• If you make a mistake, they’re confident you’ll make it right, because that’s what you’ve done in the past.
• When one of your competitors calls, they’ll just say, “Thanks, we’re happy with our current supplier.”
Would you rather build your business by meeting prospective clients who already know, like and trust you – or trying to convince people who’ve never heard of you before?
I know which one I’d pick.
What kind of work do you really, really want to do for your clients?
• Move out of repetitive, dull work you’ve done too many times before, through showing your clients you can help them in other, more interesting ways?
• Escape the “commodity trap” – you’re performing the same functions as your competitors, which means you can’t raise your fees without getting undercut by someone who’ll work cheaper?
• Stop “performing a function” for your clients, and move into being a strategic partner with them?
Do you need to reach the top levels of your target clients, if you’re to sell your services successfully?
It could be that you do large, long-term projects with budgets that can only be signed off at the highest level. Or, you’re all about helping create strategic change, and that’s a top-level decision. Maybe you’re not targeting the top level yet in your work, but you want to be.
As I’ve found out in building my own business, reaching an organization’s top tier can be frustrating.
Have you ever gone shopping for new shoes, clothing, electronics or whatever – and come across a product that is exactly right? The features you need, in the design that works best for you? That suddenly becomes a “must have” purchase for you – and the price isn’t much of a factor.Read more
It’s not a coincidence. Manufacturers put a lot of effort into consumer research and testing – focus groups and other ways to find out what customers are looking for. Their purpose is to create a product that will appeal to the customers they want
Imagine two business consultants, each meeting with a potential client for the first time. One consultant says to the client, “Here’s my business card.” The other says, “Here’s a copy of my book. Let me autograph it for you.”Read more
Which meeting do you think is off to a better start?
Publishing a book is an amazing way to show that “you’ve arrived” as a business professional. Read more
But you may have found that making your book happen is like running a marathon – a long grind. And for many would-be authors, what holds them back is, a major barrier looming at the end of the process. It’s like the challenge that stands near the finish line on the Boston Marathon, “Heartbreak Hill,” described by the Boston Globe as:
Where do you want to be, professionally, a few years from now? Do you want to –Read more
• Meet the needs of an industry different from the one you serve now, maybe one that has always fascinated you?
• Get bigger clients, which are less likely to have a problem with the fees your work is worth?
• Become an advisor to your clients, offering strategic advice rather than a transactional service?
Well … get out your suitcase, we’re going traveling.
“Get your ideas into media already trusted by the people you want as clients,” is one of the central themes of this blog. Rather than just trusting to Google to drive potential clients towards your own website, it makes sense to fish where the fish are. Read more
Should you be putting more work into getting speaking engagements to build your personal profile as an expert in your field? Just maybe. Consider:Read more
• Potential clients get to see what you’re like as a person
• You can interact with people from the stage, building a relationship with them
• People at the event have more respect for what you say even in ordinary conversations, because you’re wearing that “Speaker” badge (It works! Really!!)
• It looks good on social media, on your CV and on your LinkedIn profile