By Douglas McPherson
Douglas is Director at Size 10 ½ Boots, a business development agency that works solely with professional service firms.Tenandahalf help their clients grow by winning more new clients and by generating higher fees from their existing clients. Due to their innovative methods, the marketing of private client services is now an area in which Tenandahalf lead the market.
A few weeks ago in a match against Everton, Chelsea found themselves staring down into the relative abyss of a goalless draw that could have seen them lose ground on their nearest competitors. Options exhausted, Chelsea went back to the tried and tested: ‘professionally’ won free kick in a dangerous area, Lampard took, Terry converted.
It doesn’t matter what array of attacking talent they’ve brought in over the last 18 months, sometimes when you need the right outcome you need to rely on what you know works.
Lovely tale, and at that point (no giggling at the back Palace and Villa fans) still top of the league but what has this got to with the marketing of law firms I hear you ask?
Well, it seems like seldom a week goes by when the finance industry is not introduced to the ‘next big thing’ marketing-wise. The latest app, social media site, CRM system, SEO algorithm-buster. All are positioned as the be all and end when it comes to guaranteeing marketing success (this week) but this is an ancient and honourable profession that was capable of generating its own work centuries before Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg appeared on the scene.
While I obviously have to stay aware of the next big thing from a professional point of view, what brought this into particular focus (and led to me making the ultra-tenuous Chelsea comparison as I try and make myself feel better after the recent debacles in Croydon and Paris) was a meeting yesterday when a long-standing client asked me - straight-faced too to my absolute incredulity - whether I thought face-to-face networking or online networking was more powerful.
Ignoring the obvious response (it’s a family show after all) I couldn’t help but feel that the real questions was “if I hide behind my keyboard, can I get out of all the personal contact I know I actually need to do if I’m going build up relationships that’ll actually win work?”
I replied politely (holding every sinew in my body back from allowing me to launch into the rant I desperately wanted to impart) saying that all of the electronic stuff is nice and all offers a lovely way to stay in touch but it’s ultimately useless if you haven’t met anyone to stay in touch with.
The truth of the matter is that – however smart phones get – professional services like finance and legal are built upon relationships. These may be client relationships, referrer relationships, relationships with other professionals or key industry figures in the practice area you serve but they are relationships and need to be nurtured as such. This requires the investment of face time, the odd phone call and finding the time to share contacts, introductions and ideas. That, unfortunately, will never be done in 140 characters or in by clicking on a thumb’s up icon.
Forget the gadgets. Forget the next big thing. Don’t use the virtual as an excuse not to do the physical. Go back to what you know really works: get out, get in, get on. Get out from behind your desk and talk to people; get in with them by being generous with your time, your contacts and your ideas as to how to best service your target market, together if at all possible; get on with people by being yourself and by being willing to engage as a person first, business person second and an accountant third. Conversations and relationships win work, not apps.
If you're fantatical about footie one of these roles could be just the job to get you ahead of the game:
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