I confess, I occasionally watch Supernanny. I quite enjoy seeing children who behave worse than my own and picking up tips about how to deal with various situations. Last week, while watching a struggling family, the parallels between the parents’ behaviour and the way some professionals market themselves really struck me.
As I’ve found out since having kids, it can take time, effort and perseverence to finally get a message through to a child. And it takes the same sort of effort to build your personal profile and develop strong, long-term relationships with clients and referrers.
Here’s how what I observed on Supernanny relates to professional services marketing:
1. You get out of a relationship what you put in. If you want to build strong, enduring relationships with your clients, you need to invest time in them in an ongoing way. For example, maintaining regular contact even when you are not working with them, providing status updates when you are, sending them info useful to their business, visiting them at their premises etc.
2. You must be consistent in your behaviour. I regularly work with lawyers who are great at getting out and networking, catching up for coffee with clients, referrers and prospects and sharing useful information when they are not busy. But when they get snowed under, all their marketing efforts fly out the window. This results in marked peaks and troughs in their business rather than a steady stream of work. You have to market during the busy times too – the best way I have found to do this is to block out time in your diary each week for marketing activities and to stick to using this time for that purpose – make it a habit.
3. You should always put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Rather than getting frustrated with your clients, think about what their needs might be and why they are behaving that way. Understanding their drivers, beliefs and values often helps you to modify your own behaviour, resulting in much better outcomes.
4. Give your clients the attention they deserve. When you’re busy it can be tempting to only give something half the attention it deserves, or to put something off until later. It’s totally understandable that you’re not going to be able to meet deadlines 100% of the time. But you do need to manage your client’s expecations. As soon as you become aware that you are not going to be able to deliver to a pre-agreed timeframe, let them know.
I’m really making a conscious effort to do the above with my clients and with my kids and I’m noticing positive responses on both fronts!
What other parallels have you noticed between raising kids and professional services marketing?