The Formula For Marketing Professional Services

“I Tried For Years to Attract Premium A-Class Clients…..

And Then the Penny Dropped”

By Kim Willis

If you’re running a professional services firm and would love to attract more premium clients – those who pay top dollar and are a joy to work with – read on; you’ll love this.

With the advent of COVID, things have changed – a lot. From a client acquisition point of view, strategies that worked previously – such as networking – don’t work as well now.

But it’s not just about COVID. Even with things returning to a ‘new normal’, many are acutely aware of the shift.  Yes, the shift is on. A shift to new ways of doing things and a resolve by many to do things differently than before.  

From adversity comes opportunity but only for those with eyes to see, ears to listen, and a brain to embrace.  I am betting that in your business space, new opportunities are crying out for someone to exploit them.   Will it be you or others who say ‘damn it, I WANT this’ as they seize the reigns and chase the glorious prize?

That’s where I am today – in control. But not long ago, things were a bit different.

I’ve rarely had problems attracting clients and customers. Even in the online world, I’ve made a lot of sales. Starting with advertising then following with organic strategies such as SEO and Social Media, I lapped it up.

My online adventure started in 2006.  I didn’t know much about the online world so chose high ticket affiliate marketing.  My idea was to learn and earn by promoting someone else’s product, not mine.  Over a nine-year period, I sold millions of dollars of products.  Not only that, I generated well over 10,000 leads.

Because of my results, affiliate companies asked me to coach and train large groups of affiliates who were struggling to make sales. 

That experience led me to change focus and work with solopreneurs and various experts.  (I love to teach and help people with their marketing challenges.)  I wanted to work with people who had their own business, with good growth prospects for the future.  

So, over many years internet marketing became my jam. Give me a product to sell or a service to promote, and I’d do exactly that.  But here is where I struggled. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to find, attract and retain premium coaching clients in the online space.  

Sure, I was making money, but it was like a merry-go-round of short-term assignments plus an abundance of do nothing, go nowhere clients thrown into the murky mix.  

And not an A-class client in sight.  But hey, it paid the bills. Yet, it was such a waste – a waste of time, energy, skills, and talent. 

I kept saying to myself, ‘this is not my destiny, I’m better than this, I deserve more’. Yet, year after year, I kept grinding it out. Like a hamster on a wheel, each day was like the last and one year melded into another. Before I knew it, five years had elapsed.

Why I Couldn’t Attract Quality Clients

Other than mindset issues (‘was I good enough to work with top-notch people?’), on a practical level, it was about leads. I was generating leads, but the quality was poor. And after talking with other professional service providers, it became apparent that it was a common problem.

Either they can’t generate leads, or the leads are poor quality – or both.  

Here is what happens when something isn’t working. We either give up or ‘soldier on’, but in truth, neither option is palatable. If we quit, we miss out on the abundance that can flow from big successes, and if we soldier on – doing the same old things in the same old way – the result will probably be the same.

So I decided to do something about it.

I started following a handful of uber-successful people. I implemented some of their strategies, tweaked them, put my spin on them, and lo and behold; I got results.

This new way of doing business online required a significant shift in thinking. Instead of running ads, spending money on SEO methods, and wasting my time in mostly useless Facebook groups, the new way revolved around relationships and collaborations. 

Building trust and establishing authority through thought leadership was also part of the mix.

But more than this, it was also about the creative use of content – content so powerful that it planted seeds and stimulated inbound inquiry from quality people.

Underpinning all of this is the client avatar. It is pivotal to understand your ideal client, why they should buy from you, and how to find them. 

So, the method I’m going to show you has been responsible for countless situations where people freely talk to me. By the time we engage, I am the go-to authority for them.

Imagine that. No more trying to convince people. By the time you talk with them, they are already aligned. In fact, many of them have been fantasising about working with you. These people are pre-sold; they want to do business.  Just work out the details and get them started.

This is how I do business now, and in terms of attracting premium clients, it’s about two things:

  1. Effective Targetting.  Having a method that quickly identifies your perfect prospects.
  2. Precise Messaging.  I call it ‘matching message with market’. In other words, content that speaks their language – when they read it, they instantly think, ‘it’s like she’s talking directly to me’.

Look, I KNOW you want to attract better quality clients; that’s why you’re reading this. I also know that most people struggle with it. Indeed, one survey showed that 85 percent of respondents said it was a big problem.  

So, they spend their time ‘in the weeds’ – working with poor quality clients because they ‘need the money.’ It is such a waste – a crying shame. After years of learning their craft, they’re like a turkey scratching around in the dirt, searching for crumbs.

I call my system the Attraction Marketing and Authority Building Method (AMAB). Will it be a good fit for you? Well, see if any of the points on this list resonate with you:

  1. Other than using traditional networking and referral methods, you don’t know how to find ideal clients.  
  2. You don’t see yourself as a salesperson; the mere thought of it makes you shudder.
  3. You don’t feel comfortable promoting yourself. You see it as bragging and think it’s an unsavory activity for professionals.
  4. You’ve tried various marketing methods, but nothing has worked.
  5. You’ve resigned yourself to working with low-level clients. Not ideal, but it pays the bills.

If you said YES to at least three of the above points my AMAB method may be perfect for you.

Many Experts Feel They’re Not Cut Out For Sales and Marketing

You train for years to become an expert in your field. However, your success is often dependent on a skill for which you receive little or no training: sales. Although networking (whether online or offline) offers an affordable opportunity to meet potential clients, there’s always someone else offering the same services.

Regardless of their professional skills, those that do well in these situations tend to have great sales instincts.

Whether in person or online, sales and marketing can often feel like it’s the realm of the extrovert. It’s often unappealing to a professional who prefers to focus on what they’re good at and NOT get their hands dirty in the murky world of sales and marketing. The good news is that it’s possible to communicate your attributes in a meaningful way to the very people who need to hear about them.

This is because we’re in a digital age where we have access to countless advertising messages every day. As a result, we can actively seek out authenticity and authority on the topics that interest us. 

That is why you should have a deep understanding of your customer, what they need and what they value about you.
 
From here you can create content around these topics to ensure your marketing generates a return on investment.
 

In a digital context, bragging means you’re just saying what you would ordinarily say to a new client in person. You’re merely communicating real-world examples over a digital platform to build your credibility and get your name out there. 

After all, if you don’t do it, you’re not only depriving someone of a valuable service (by not promoting yourself), you’re losing out on valuable business.

Not Everyone Needs Marketing Support 

Of course, some folks acquire clients exclusively through networking and referrals (See Point 1). If you’re up to capacity and happy with the quality of your client base, this post may not be relevant to you.  

But many have told me that it’s an unreliable way to build a business, making it very difficult to scale up and help more people. Indeed, if you want to accelerate growth, you likely can’t rely on using traditional methods alone.

The bottom line is this: if you want more growth and have a sense of urgency to make it happen, you’ll need a fast-track marketing plan plus some practical support to help you get there.

Marketing Professional Services is Different From Other Types of Marketing

Take a look at the above graphic.  You can see a series of marketing-oriented steps that are perfectly suited to the world of professional services marketing.

Traditionally the promotion of high ticket products and services revolves around lead generation, with a salesperson generating and following up each lead. Often it requires a phone or face-to-face appointment, or in recent times, a Zoom call.

Within the context of a typical business, this is how business is done. I call it push marketing – the sales department is constantly pushing for sales.

But for professional service firms, it is entirely the wrong way to do business. Instead, use methods that ATTRACT people to you. Call it pull or attraction marketing; call it what you want, but the point is that when people are leaning forward, you are in control.

Whatever you do, avoid the temptation to lapse into passivity with your marketing. When it happens, you are no longer in control of outcomes, the effect of which is to see prospective clients through rose-colored glasses.  Because you are not in control of your marketing you’ll probably end up taking on another B or C class client.

So the type of marketing you should embrace is much more strategic and focused on attraction, not chase. Or, to put it another way – you’re a farmer, not a hunter.

I’m big on posture, which is about maintaining a certain dignity. You’re above the fray.  You wouldn’t dare lower yourself to the level of a ‘mere’ salesperson would you?  

The Smart Way to Attract Clients in the New Era

Salespeople are very transactional – always chasing the next sale. On the other hand, professionals should focus on attracting clients for the long term.

Professional services businesses need to market themselves via a series of relationship and trust-building steps culminating in the coming together of like minds for mutual benefit. 

Final Point – Commoditised Services Will Make You Poorer

What’s that gushing sound I hear? It’s the sound of money washing out of your business due to relentless downward pressure on your margins.

In many sectors, there is a trend towards the commodisation of services. When this happens, it becomes challenging to maintain fees.  

There are various reasons for this state of affairs, one of which is that providers waste far too much time promoting services rather than outcomes.  

For example, look at a typical professional service firm’s website – full of guff about their glorious services lineup. Boring. (A word to the wise – if the content doesn’t pass the ‘so what?’ test, it’s a waste of space.)

The problem with putting your services on a pedestal is that people will turn off because they can’t see how it will help them. This is especially so when all their competitors are doing precisely the same thing. When that happens, prospective clients will deduce that you’re just another commodity supplier.

Oh dear.

Get clear on this: people don’t care about your services; they only care about the results you help them achieve.

A Simple Offer For You

With those thoughts in mind, it may be time for you to take the next step.

If you concur with many of the sentiments expressed in this post and are ready to move your business forward, take advantage of my limited Business Expansion Call offer.

Not only will I guide you on client acquisition strategies, but I’ll also share how my Attraction Marketing and Authority Building Method (AMAB) might work for you. Valued at $350, I’m offering it free for a short time.  

BOOK A TIME HERE

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *