I have been reading an excellent book lately – Guerrilla Marketing for Consultants: Breakthrough Tactics for Winning Profitable Clients, by Jay Conrad Levinson and Michael W. McLaughlin. If you work in professional services (consulting, law, architect, engineer, accountant, etc.), you need to read this book.
Michael McLaughlin is the primary source of the content for this book. He is a successful management consultant and publishes an outstanding blog called Consult This! that I read daily. This book was written based on a simple premise: Marketing is integral to providing professional services, and the “rules” of marketing have changed.
But I’m Not in Marketing…
Perhaps you work at a firm with a person whose primary job is marketing and/or business development. Or maybe you are a one-person firm. Either way, if you are a professional service provider, you are in marketing. Because YOU are the product. The clients are paying for your expertise and knowledge, and the clients are better informed and more discerning than ever before. As the authors point out:
Professional service providers need powerful marketing now more than ever. You may be a brilliant advisor or strategist, but in our highly competitive world you must convince clients that your services are head and shoulders above the competition if you want to stay in business.
In professional service firms, marketing is everyone’s responsibility.
Leveling the Playing Field
The good news (if you are one of those who wince at the mere mention of the word “marketing”) is that marketing doesn’t have to be painful or expensive. In fact, the most effective marketing techniques rely upon knowing what factors influence the decisions of the client. With more savvy clients, comes the need for more savvy marketing. What do clients want? Value, transparency, honesty, credibility, and most of all, results.
When Levinson published the original Guerrilla Marketing book back in 1983 (now in its 4th edition), the intent was clear – a “take no prisoners” approach for businesses to improve their market share. In this book, the authors provide clear paths for applying those same principles to professional service firms. This includes everything from how to structure and present your firm’s website, to social media, to publishing, to speaking engagements, to traditional advertising. The book also gives clear (and proven) advice on the sales process, including how to write a proposal that actually stands a chance, and how to determine whether or not to pursue a specific opportunity. Although fairly comprehensive, all of the tactics focus on the same theme. In essence, you need to help your prospective clients to make better informed decisions.
As the authors state:
The time is right for consultants to adopt guerilla marketing techniques. The battle in consulting is no longer just about vying for projects; it is about competing for relationships with those who award those projects. This book focuses on how to win profitable work from a new, more discerning breed of consulting clients.
Guerilla marketing can overcome the obstacles that many consultants face: clients’ growing cynicism, today’s new buying environment, and the feast-or-famine syndrome.