Latest Blog Comments
  • Thank you so much for this! It sounds really manageable. I'll try it starting tomorrow. read more
    By Kim Schlossberg

  • Creating presentations is my super power. Building a following is my kryptonite -- for now. But that's why I'm here . . . read more
    By Bill Burns

  • Great article Robert! I particularly like where you say if your clients are not confident at writing, you suggest networking or connecting personally ... read more
    By Kev

  • Robert, I love that you've asked the question and appreciate the opportunity to offer my thoughts. My opinion is that you should refrain from any poli... read more
    By Larry M

  • Robert, This forum has been "refreshing" in an unorthodox way, lol. You actually ARE marketing (whether your members agree/or not). The current situat... read more
    By Beverly Freeman

  • Robert, I love the clarity you bring to each article you write. Many, many thanks. My strengths? (1) My voice (one of my careers was as a solo soprano... read more
    By WendyHT

  • Hi VJ, AS I said, I hope Trump is successful in making positive changes. What we are concerned about is the overall authoritarian tone of Trump, his i... read more
    By Robert Middleton

  • People are so opposed to the President, they are missing the message that got him elected. Half the country doesn't feel the way you feel, doesn't val... read more
    By VJ Martin

  • Fore me, Pamela, these are artificial barriers. In the course of working with clients we will often discuss politics, religion and other even more tab... read more
    By Robert Middleton

  • If politics is ok to discuss in a business setting, then discussing religion will be. Keep business businessy. If I want a political discussion it wil... read more
    By pamela kenney

By Robert Middleton – Action Plan Marketing

Janice was upfront with me when we first talked about marketing her professional services: 

"I want to market my services but I just hate hype; I don't want to seem pushy or manipulative and I definitely don't want to seem desperate when I'm marketing myself. So what can I do?"

I told her I agreed with her and that most independent professionals felt the same way. "One of the built-in misconceptions about marketing is that it is the same as hype. It's so hard to conceive marketing without hype, that those sensitive to hype feel as thought they've hit a dead end with their marketing." 

Then I gave her a short list of hype-oriented marketing activities. 

• Making exaggerated claims for our services

• Promising what can't be delivered

• Using over-the-top language

• Presenting all style with little substance

"Is that what you mean Janice?" I asked.

"Yes exactly," she responded. "That's just not me."

I continued: "The common denominator in all of these approaches is misrepresenting the value of what you are offering. And doing that, even a little bit, makes you feel yucky, right?"

"Yucky is a perfect word." she responded. "Look, I'm a professional, I can't use those hype-based approaches. So before I decide to work with you, I need to know if there's a way to market myself that doesn't feel yucky and still be effective." 

"Yes, there is a  realistic alternative," I said, "and – good news – it's really simple. Authentic marketing is about accurately representing the value you offer. 

"But that doesn't mean your marketing needs to be boring. You can't bore someone into doing business with you. 

"No, you can make your marketing interesting, valuable and beneficial without resorting to half-truths or outright lies."

And then I outlined for janice seven things she could do to market herself authentically. 

1. Educate your audience about what you offer. Don't assume they really understand what it is you do and all the value you provide. Above all else, explain how your clients value from your services. What difference does your service make?

2. Explain in detail every single important benefit you offer. Don't assume your prospects know of or understand any of these benefits. Spell them out as clearly as possible. 

3. Make sure to balance benefits with features. A feature of a service is a particular thing you do (such as offer email support), the benefit is the value a client receives from that feature (ensures that you stay on track). 

4. Tell stories about your services that illustrate specifically how clients have benefited from using them and include testimonials relating the value your clients have received. 

5. Tell your audience about yourself, your journey, your struggles and your breakthroughs. Personalizing the story behind your services builds a feeling of familiarity and trust. 

6. Be real. Actually explain any drawbacks of your services and why they are not for everyone, but for a certain kind of client. This shows that you understand your clients and their real needs. 

7. Simply tell your prospects what steps to take next. Most marketing for professional services takes several steps. Point them to more in-depth information, complimentary meetings, introductory tele-classes or webinars. 

"Now that I've explained these seven approaches to authentic marketing I hope it takes some of the pressure off. These are approaches any honest, authentic, independent professional can take without feeling yucky.

"Remember that marketing is 100% communication, so every time you need to communicate about the professional services you offer, come back to this list and make sure to include as many of these approaches as you can in your emails, phone conversations, web content, sales letters and follow-up calls." 

"And you can help me with that?" Janice asked.

"Absolutely! and you may discover that authentic marketing is both natural and easier than you thought."

Several months later Janice had completely integrated authentic marketing into her business, had attracted a number of great clients, and discovered that it's easy to connect with people when you know you have real value to offer and that any kind of hype is completely unnecessary.  

Cheers, Robert

Note: I am now accepting applications for my Marketing Coaching Program designed to teach you the authentic marketing approaches that result in attracting more of your ideal clients.

Learn more here: http://actionplan.com/mastery-sessions

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

 
Robert Middleton, the owner of Action Plan Marketing, has for 30 years, been helping Self-Employed Professionals attract more of their ideal clients.  He offers the online membership site, The More Clients Club, and individual coaching and consulting through his Marketing Action Coaching. If this is your first visit to the More Clients blog, make sure to get a copy of the Marketing Plan Workbook and join the Marketing Club Forum for free.