One question I get asked quite often is “Can you recommend a good book on marketing professional services?”.
And to be honest, my normal answer is “not really”.
For sole practitioners and small consulting firms, Robert Middleton's Action Plan Marketing material is an excellent resource. For larger firms there's very little on marketing that I find helpful, so I usually point them to the relevant chapters in more general works like Maister's Managing the Professional Service Firm, Harding's Rainmaking or Denvir & Walker's Growing Your Client Base.
Well, now I have something to recommend.
Professional Services Marketing is Mike Schultz & John Doerr's new book focused on helping professional firms build strong brands, create a “lead generation engine” and develop effective business development cultures.
Here's the difference with Professional Services Marketing – it's based on what really works in professional services.
As well as running their own professional service firm, Schultz and Doerr advise leading law, accountancy and consulting firms. And as the founders of Raintoday.com, they have access to the most recent research on lead generation methods, client buying criteria, fee rates, etc.
The impact of that experience and research comes through loud and clear in the book. What you won't find here are unsubstantiated theories or concepts from product marketing crudely adapted to a services environment. Instead, it's based on practical, real-world-tested ideas.
Example: In Chapter 6 – Don't Worry About Your Competition, they debunk a number of myths hung-over from product marketing. “You must be a first mover” – nonsense. “You must be #1 or #2 in your market” – pish. “You must have a USP” – yeah right. I come across these myths frequently (and unfortunately, I hear them repeated by too many trainers and consultants who should know better). Schulz & Doerr demonstrate here and throughout the book that they're not afraid to break with conventional wisdom and to “tell it like it is”. Using research and experience they show how these ideas are not only wrong for professional service firms, but that by following them they can damage your business.
OK – so here's what the book actually covers:
- Marketing Planning
- The Key Levers of Lead Generation
- Options for Fees & Pricing
- Uniqueness (and why it's a mistahe to think you need to be unique)
- Thought Leadership
- Marketing Communications
- Lead Nurturing
No book is perfect, of course. The chapter on selling has some excellent ideas (particularly about the importance of surfacing client aspirations as well as problems) – but isn't enough on it's own to turn a stumbling accountant or brash lawyer into a competent salesperson. I'd have liked to have seen pointers to more detailed resources in this area like Let's Get Real or SPIN Selling.
But overall – how highly do I rate the book? Put it this way: I got a free electronic version of the pre-release version of the book – but I've stumped up my own cash to add a hard copy version to my library for reference.
If you do buy it in the next few hours, you'll be eligible for a number of free bonuses, including a Raintoday webinar and articles from Larry Bodine, Ardath Albee, Brian Carroll, Jill Konrath, Vickie Sullivan and others. Once you've bought the book, go to professionalservicesmarketingbook.com/bonus-materials to get access to them.