Review: Professional Services Marketing by Shultz & Doerr

Professional Services Marketing – How the best firms build premier brands, thriving lead generation engines, and cultures of business development success by Mike Shultz and John E. Doerr, Wiley & Sons, 2009, 332 pp.

Are you are struggling to get more clients? Then stop what you are doing and get this book. It will help you achieve what the authors call the promise of all marketing to: “Attract and retain profitable clients”.

Professional Services Marketing will become the new gold standard in professional marketing guides. It will give you practical tools to help tailor your message to get clients.

The authors support their advice with groundbreaking research published by their firm, They point out why current marketing methods fail to identify and deliver what clients want to know. These questions, they say, boil down to:

“How comfortable am l with your expertise, your interpersonal skills, and your dedication to my success; and, do I believe that you can actually do the work well?”

Ready, Aim and…

Missing the target is one thing, but not knowing what the target should be, is different. The authors use charts, examples, graphics, sample ads and case studies to improve your marketing aim. This work from two MBA graduates delivers a methodology that every firm can use.

You will learn the five biggest marketing mistakes. My favourite mistaken view is that lawyers must have a unique selling proposition for their professional services. At first glance, discarding this mantra seems unjustified. The authors, however, give adequate reasons to support their position.

The material is not filled with confusing marketing vocabulary, nor does it assume that the reader has a background in advertising. You will want to take time to digest the ideas in this book.

I’m Okay, You’re Okay

In Chapter 13 entitled, “On Being Unique and Other Bad Marketing Advice”, the authors claim that many branding maxims are… “simply not valid for almost all professional services. Trying to be unique and failing can damage your firms credibility” and these attempts have done “disservice to many a service firm”.

The authors, however, believe having a strong value proposition that “resonates, conveys distinction and is defensible” is important.

Getting More Clients – Lead Generation

This valuable information is analyzed and worth the price of the book. If you are beating yourself up for enjoying your weekends with your family and not starting a blog, relax. You can stop feeling guilty. Blogging may not be high on the list the authors’ research has identified for obtaining more referrals.

That’s not to say the authors do not think highly of networking and other internet tools. They analyze:

  • direct-mail
  • e-mail
  • networking
  • social networking
  • trade shows
  • advertising
  • articles
  • seminars
  • search engine optimization

They review and also identify common mistakes and offer words of wisdom.

The book is interspersed with quotes from marketing experts and CEOs that reinforce and approve key messages. The book lists over 90 websites, blogs, writers and leading thinkers credited with influencing the authors.

Become a Thought Leader

Chapters on branding will help you uncover your firm’s key brand attributes, and how to become a thought leader. This book will help you understand these concepts like never before.

The principal value in the book I found is this: it confirms that so much of what passes as a standard marketing strategy may be a terrible marketing mistake for professionals.

Increase your odds of success with this step-by-step approach to attracting great clients.