How To Attract Clients Without Hard Selling

Effective Practice Growth Strategies For Intellectual Property Lawyers, By Eria Odhuba

How To Change Your Business Model To Attract Lots Of New Clients

As I mentioned previously, most professional services consultants and businesses find marketing tough in an increasingly cynical world. They hold the wrong view that it is an additional cost, and therefore do it poorly by focusing on the hard sell. Many don’t even monitor the effectiveness of any marketing they do.

If you simply see yourself as a professional services specialist (e.g. legal, insurance, tax, mortgage or wealth advisor) and then think of marketing as an afterthought, you will end up doing the type of hard selling that really turns prospects off. Guaranteed!

So, what do you need to do?

First of all, you need to think of yourself as a trusted advisor who understands people’s fears and frustrations, and who willingly provides information and guidance to help people improve their lives.

That sounds simple doesn’t it? Well, it is if you go through some specific steps.

Note that I did not mention specific services and what they cost. That is secondary to the primary goal – which is building a position of authority and trust within a specific niche.

To do that, you have no option whatsoever than to change your business model. Traditional models in which you focus on services which you then try to sell are increasingly difficult to sustain. The world is fed up of consultants that talk about how great they are, but who then fail to address what customers really want.

In order to build the new business model, you need to consider the following:

  1. The initial focus should be to understand the fears and frustrations of prospects within a given niche, and know what the desired outcomes are.
    1. This means having an effective information gathering system in place that allows you to have two-way conversations with clients and prospects (e.g. feedback loops, regular consultations, surveys, etc).
  2. You have to identify your most profitable types of clients and make sure you aim to build your business around this target market.
  3. You need to have a system in place to educate prospects on how to solve their problems. This may be online or offline, and includes blogs, articles or newsletters.
    1. Any fears you might have that providing information for free will result in less business is totally unfounded. This one step alone is guaranteed to get more high quality prospects attracted to you.
  4. You have to use direct response marketing techniques to build opt-in lists. This gives you a captive market that you can educate and give direction to. It also gives you an excellent chance to sell additional, more strategic, products and services once you have developed great relationships.
    1. Any marketing that does not aim to get a response is a total waste of money.
    2. You can test various channels to market to see which provide the best responses as well.
  5. Underpinning all the points above is the necessary realisation amongst all staff that they are in the business of building trusted relationships with customers, not selling services. Any experiences prospects have should, therefore, have a ‘WOW’ element built that simply locks out the competition. To get this working, you need to answer the following questions:
    1. What tasks or jobs limit you from providing a great customer experience?
    2. Do you have the right staff / skills to have conversations with prospects that make them feel you understand their fears and frustrations?
    3. How do you reward your teams for helping build trusting relationships and great client experiences?
    4. Are there any functions you can outsource so that you focus on making sure your staff-client interactions are all positive?
  6. The services you then provide at the end of this relationship-building chain will actually be easier to sell, and if your prospects are absolutely clear about the benefits they will get, you will find it easier to charge higher prices for some services.

This all takes time, so you should not expect to suddenly change everything around and get results immediately. No, you need to put the effort in to understand the conversations prospects have in their heads, and your entire business is based on making sure you keep track of these and inform people about potential solutions to problems.

The money comes in later, but you will weed out those prospects that might have been problematic and capture those that will be very valuable to you over a longer period of time.

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