Marketing for professional service firms

Being a boutique agency specialising in marketing for professional service firms has its challenges. There are a number of common factors that often crop up when we start working with our clients but the main five are outlined below. It is our job as advisors to help over come these issues and help create successful marketing for professional service firms

1. Finding their USP

The reality is that a lawyer is a lawyer and an accountant an accountant. You need to find something that sets you apart from your competition. Most firms I have worked with and come across will say that their ‘Client service’ is their USP. I guess the reality is that this is probably one of the few areas where you could differentiate. However, you can only use Client service as a differentiator (USP) if it really is outstanding and not what you would expect when paying upwards of £200ph. (See next months blog on how to create your ‘x factor’ for some ideas around this).

2. Price

There are very few industries where the price is so hidden. Admittedly an advisor will tell you their hourly rate but often not how many hours you will need. Often lawyers and accountants are embarrassed about their fees. If you don’t believe in them, how can you expect a prospective client to? Some serious time and effort ought to be put into creating packages and transparent fee s for clients.

3. IT

I haven’t come across another industry that has as poor IT solutions. I would love to find an IT solutions that offers professional service firms the ability to time record and bill whilst recording all relevant information about a client. Such as favourite sport, children’s names etc. The data any company has is one of its most valuable assets but unfortunately the lack of information and the out dated nature of many client records really hinders a firm.

4. Marketing

Does your firm have a dedicated marketing resource that is qualified and empowered to make decisions?

Two issues I have come across are 1. No dedicated resource either internally or externally; 2. Internal resource that is under staffed or qualified. And effectively used as an expensive administrative function.

Add into this mix the lack of investment in marketing from a strategic plan to implementation and you can see why large players like Saga and the Co-op are making in roads.

5. Selling

Oh how professionals hate this word.

Sales is possibly the top challenge that lawyers and accountants face. To get to this stage, the marketing has worked, the prospective client had made an enquiry. Now its time to sell!

How to increase your fee earners conversion rate by at least 50% – follow up any enquiry! I can understand the reluctance to ‘close’ an enquiry but there show be no issue with ending by agreeing to follow up the next day. Does this put you in the category of ‘double glazing salesman?’ In a word – no! The prospective client wants you to call them. In working with a mystery shopping firm for several years it was the one area all firms they had worked with fell down. The mystery shoppers all expressed a wish to receive a follow up call! In many instances they would have still used the lawyer/accountant. However, would this be the case if another firm had called in the meantime to ask if they wanted to go ahead. Its human nature – who doesn’t want to feel valued/wanted?

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Business DevelopmentMarketing Strategy