- April 3, 2019
- Posted by: Nkem Mpamah
- Category: Marketing Strategy
Marketing of professional services products is tough for many entrepreneurs because, by nature; services are intangible. In other words, services cannot be seen, touched, or tasted. Service entrepreneurs, including coaches, consultants, financial advisers, lawyers, or doctors, and real estate operators contribute immensely to economic growth. Consequently, service industries grow rapidly all over the world. For example, in 2008, two-thirds or 64% of the worlds GDP was contributed by the services sector. Real estate, rental, and leasing are the largest service sectors in the U.S., contributing one-eighth of the GDP in 2007. However; professional services marketing pose a challenge to many service providers.
Service entrepreneurs tend to focus too much on the creation of services than they strive to learn about the marketing of professional services. Consequently, they create great products that fail to generate enough revenue to grow the business. While it is okay to create great service products, it is important also, to understand the techniques for marketing professional services.
The size of service sectors and their impacts in the global economy notwithstanding, the popularity of marketing of professional services products has been low compared to those of manufacturing. Lack of requisite marketing skills for service products has been a challenge for service entrepreneurs. For example, nearly 90% of service providers do not have the required training to market their services. Consider engineers, accountants, doctors, coaches, architects, and lawyers. They have great technical skills and understand what they are doing in the marketplace. But, they often lack training on how to market service products and grow their business.
Considerations for professional services marketing services
A lot of factors needs to be considered for creating effective professional services marketing strategies. Over the past ten years, the following three areas of focus have produced consistent growth.
1. Define your value propositions
Why should anybody bother about what you are selling? How are you different from everyone else in the market? These are some of the important value propositions questions that professional services entrepreneurs must answer when creating services. Interestingly; they provide answers to the facts that create your core marketing message.
Value propositions are necessary considerations for creating effective professional services marketing strategies. They are the benefits that customers look for in every service. The following three factors are fundamental for creating them.
How to define your value propositions
- Build Trust
Effective professional services marketing is based on trust. Many clients will pay more for your professional services if you make your value propositions easy and simple to access. One of the ways you can do that is ensuring that you do what you promised. They want you to be punctual, finish what you started with them, and be thankful also. If your clients perceive that they can trust you, they can refer your business to their friends.
- Lowest Price
To offer the lowest price, your cost of goods must be lower than your rivals’. It is like practicing a culture of lowering cost in your business DNA. For example; you must create, market, and distribute services at the lowest possible cost. Attempts to waste money or resources in the business becomes an “unforgivable sin.” Lowest price is easy to explain to clients because they are lower than rivals. However, it could attract an endless price war from competitors in the market.
2. Focus on an ideal target market
The essence of targeting a specific market to offer services that meet the needs of a specific set of customers in that market. The idea is to group the customers according to their needs, so the entrepreneur can create products and prices that are appropriate for them.
One big mistake I see entrepreneurs make in professional services marketing is thinking that they can sell to an entire market. They waste their limited time and resources in chasing persuading everybody to buy from them. Consequently, they get frustrated and complain. An ideal professional services marketing strategy is to focus on a segment of the market that you can serve best.
When targeting a market, you must be aware that different target markets offer different market opportunities. For example, many professional service entrepreneurs focus on markets offering more sales and profits than others. While such a choice can be good, it is crucial to ensure that you have the resources and capabilities to compete effectively in the market. Always keep the essence of market segmentation in mind; to meet and exceed the needs of the customers.
3. Communicate value not process
Regardless of how rich a client may be, he or she does not want to be taken advantage of. Clients want to know up front, that they are getting value for their investment in your professional services. A major problem that professional services marketing poses is that clients cannot know the value of the service they want to buy until they buy and use them. Therefore, the service provider has a responsibility to communicate his or her services in ways that sufficiently convey the value that prospective clients seek. The question is; how can you do that?
Rather than focusing on the benefits that services offer, many professional services entrepreneurs communicate process. They talk about themselves, and how they do what they do. For example, they say things like; “I am a coach, an accountant, or a real estate agent.” At one point, a coach said; “I will work one-to-one with you to understand your challenges and we will take it from there.” A local accountant, offering accounting services once said; “My system will help you to produce a monthly profit and loss account, balance sheet, and budgeting report.” Communicating your service delivery process does not tell prospective clients anything about how you are better than rivals, or how your service would make a difference.
Why professional services marketing matters
To communicate value is to sell prospects on benefits. This is a fundamental part of professional services marketing strategies that will convey your promise to attract your clients’ interest and attention. You can communicate your value by explaining the key benefits, demonstrating some examples, or making comparisons that your service is a great value. You can make a comparison of different factors including price, savings, speed, guarantees, quality, and more.
Here is an example of making a comparison…
We/I work with professional services entrepreneurs to help develop strategic directions and increase productivity and profit. Our commitment to professional services growth is embedded in our mission of effectively providing economically viable and affordable services to the services sector.
The services industry offers a huge entrepreneurial opportunity to small and medium-size entrepreneurs across every continent of the world. The perceived challenge of professional services marketing notwithstanding, businesses that pay attention to the fundamental services marketing strategies will always grow. Any investment in the acquisition of such entrepreneurial capability is worthwhile.