Monday, March 23, 2009

Marketing from the Trenches #4 - Only You Can Move Your Practice Forward

Firms teach one false lesson that works well when you are an associate or senior manager, but becomes the complete opposite when you make partner.

In order to make partner you probably got really good at the politics it requires to be a popular resource. But now that you're a partner... no more easy work.

When you make partner no one will be handing you any more business to fill your billable day. You will be expected to bring business in and fill your own calendar, and even provide work for junior professionals.

Only you can move your practice forward.

If I could ingrain one thought in this series it would be this -- Your future is up to you! Marketing can be accomplished by a team but every practice needs a leader. If it is your practice then you need to step up and be that leader. If you do not take your future serious why should I?

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Marketing from the Trenches #3 - Say Thank You as Often as Possible

I know that every time I receive a thank you note I am thrilled and feel special. Every time someone thanks me for whatever -- I feel great! And then I bust my rear-end to return the favor.

Saying "thank you", in any form, is a little nugget of business gold. Do it often enough and you will have legions of people wanting to help you succeed.

Do this: Anytime you meet anyone that could matter to the future of your practice send him/her a thank you note. It can be sent snail-mail or email. Just take a few seconds to state, "thank you". This one gesture is more than 98% of everyone else will do and, you will be remembered.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Marketing from the Trenches #2 - Go Party

No matter the city or county where you practice there will always be business parties going on all of the time. When was the last time you went to one?

I think at one point or another all of us were focused on finding parties to crash. For most of us it was when we were younger and full of the energy to do one thing only -- go have FUN! At every one of those parties we met new people, created exciting connections and felt incredibly alive!

All these years later, now that we are "serious" professionals we don't indulge ourselves those kinds of foolish adventures. Or do we?

A business reception, an awards dinner, a conference event or an association meeting are really just the "serious" equivalent to a frat bash. As we get deeper into our careers and lives we've just found a more eloquent way to name our parties.

BUT, we're still looking for the same fun!

Do this: Make it your goal to "party" once a week. Don't go for any business reason. Go to have fun! You WILL meet new people and make exciting connections and professional things will start to fall in place. Just show up for the party!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Marketing from the Trenches

Here is the premise; I am an individual partner within a firm that is told to go out and find business. I will have little support from partners on either side of me (because they are trying to survive too) and leadership is far to the rear behind stagnated supply lines creating orders based on old information and assumptions. WHAT can I do to survive?

This will be a series on what individual partners can do to survive the business development battle ahead AND succeed with little pain or sacrifice. This series will even offer some ideas on how to recruit other partners around you to be joined in your success. As the series grows I will link each article back to this index.

Marketing from the Trenches #1: Whom have you told that you need to succeed?
Some people we tell are obvious -- a few of our close peers at the firm, our spouse, a couple of friends maybe. But have you told ALL of your friends? Have you talked to your existing clients? Have you said, "I want to succeed" to everyone in your referral network? Is this some sort of State Secret you cannot share.

The first rule of Marketing from the Trenches is to let everyone know what you wish to accomplish. It is not greedy or egotistical -- it is simply the truth to your survival. You cannot imagine how many people you inform will completely identify with what you need to do and will jump at the chance to help!

Do this: Make a list of at least twenty people (clients, referral connections, friends, etc.) and make it your mission to tell them what you need to accomplish for your professional survival. Do not demand anything of them in return -- just state your goal and your desire to make it happen. Then ask politely for ideas (and be open to hearing what they offer). The answers you receive will amaze and gratify you.

Marketing from the Trenches Series
#2 - Go Party
#3 - Say Thank You as Often as Possible
#4 - Only You Can Move Your Practice Forward
#5 - Stop Saying "Yes" to No-Money Activities
#6 - Monetize Your Non-Billable Time
#7 - Stop Talking About What You Do
#8 - Internet or You Will Never Net (Profit)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Your Voicemail Message Can Be a Huge Marketing Tool!

Does this sound familiar? "You've reached the voice mailbox of (insert name here). I am either on the phone or away from my office. Please leave me a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible."

Honestly, how much do you trust "they" will get back to you as soon as possible? Actually, when I hear that script I pretty much figure "they" will get back to me when they darn well please and I'm left feeling let down.

Fortunately, there are a couple of voicemail recordings that will do a better job of marketing you. I encourage you to try one of these two ideas.
  1. "You've reached the voicemail of (insert name here). Today, (insert current date here) I have meetings at 9:00AM, and 12:00 Noon. I will make every effort to return your call when I am available.

    This script sends a really strong, clear message that you pay attention to your voicemail and are attentive to the needs of anyone calling. It also requires that you are attentive and are disciplined.

  2. "Welcome to the voicemail box of (insert name here). Please leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

    I have been using the "welcome" message for a long time. Often people leaving me a message comment on how much they enjoyed being welcomed to my voicemail. They state it feels personal, real and warm.
Good marketing discipline requires that we look at every touch-point and do our best to maximize the moment. Your voicemail message is a great place to demonstrate you care.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Things My Parents Said that Prepared Me to Be a Marketer

This is gonna hurt you more than it hurts me.” - Marketing is all about changing the behavior of a target audience. Sometimes I have to be radical and creative to get their attention!

Life's not fair.” - My best effort may not always produce the best result. The key is to keep moving, creating and adapting.

Don’t get smart with me!” - Whatever I create as a marketer can never cross the line of making my audience look or feel stupid.

Smarten up!” - I need to create marketing programs that demonstrate I paid attention to the needs of my audience.

"Put on a sweater, I'm cold." - I need to take care of the people I work for even when it makes no sense to me. Marketing at firms can be like that a lot.

"If your friend jumped off a cliff, would you?" - I don't have to follow the herd of marketers all doing the same thing over and over again. It is O.K. for my marketing programs to be completely different from my competitors.

"I gotta go talk to a man about a horse." - In marketing a little misdirection is useful.

It takes a good driver to hit all the bumps.” - All of my marketing missteps DO have a silver lining. Knowledge.

Don't make me count to 3!” - Every marketing effort I create should be succinct and efficient. My target audience AND the partners in my firm want me to get to the benefit/result as fast as possible.

Don't make me have to repeat myself.” - If I have taken the time to ask clients what they what then I'd better deliver on what they stated.

Because I said so.” - Well, actually I can't think of a lesson for this one. It made me mad back when I heard it and it still makes me mad!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Promote or Fail

I have been on Blogger since 1999, an eternity in blogger years. Every night that I've logged in I have written my words and then checked in to see what are the latest "Blogs of Note". Over the years these blogs have included such incredible journeys as insights from Antarctica, images from Africa, tales from a rock tour, and the story of a cancer patient. Some of the noted blogs have completely moved me!

But "blogs of note" have also included completely insane choices. People buying a lottery ticket, travel guides to Venice, and people rambling on about the advantages of Linux, etc.

I have been writing for 10 years about professional services marketing and never received the honor of being a "Blog of Note"! It is really not a problem for me but... Alright, get out of my tiny little head and take a moment to peer inside your own....

How is it that everyone near you does not see how brilliant you are?! You are doing all of this wonderful work yet people are not falling down around you to engage your services!? What is THAT all about!? How is it that you can keep toiling away in your own excellence and no one seems to be calling?

I am not sure if you, my reader, can get this point, but I will try to make it none-the-less. "If I do good they will come." It is not NOT going to happen that way for you.

Here is the point. "Only if I promote it will they ever know."

I have never promoted my blog, never tried to reach out and be noticed, never done anything commercial, and my blog remains on the backwater. That is good enough for me, but for all of you that keep expecting to be noticed, just for doing good works... shame on you.

In an ultra-connected world there is no way for you to be noticed unless you pay attention to being noticed. If you do not promote you will NOT be known. If you do not spend any effort or money on promotion you WILL remain in the backwater and wondering why clients do not come calling.

I do not anticipate to be noticed anytime soon, as well I should not, but if you are hoping for attention without effort I hope you learn to be disappointed....

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