I just finished a book called Take it to the Max The Ultimate Strategy for Maximizing Profits & Growth by Jeff Peden, MEd. When I met Jeff for coffee I didn't expect much beyond some conversation regarding business tips and motivation. What I got was a copy of his book, which is loaded with content that will get you thinking about ways to improve your business.
Now, the information isn't groundbreaking. You've likely heard bits of his wisdom elsewhere, as I have. But sometimes you read something written in a specific way at a specific moment in time that makes things "click." The book got me thinking about something I now call "front line marketing." I don't claim the idea as revolutionary, but it is helping me bring to light a concept that may not be obvious to the individuals executing front line marketing every day: our technical professionals.
All Service Professionals Are Marketers
I'll bet most architects, engineers and interior designers wouldn't classify themselves as "marketers." They don't have to. It's built into their role as professionals providing client services. The thought of being a "marketer" is such a nasty thought to most. I blame the negative stereotypes who've done it all wrong. You know the type. It's the pushy, insincere, smooth-talking "schmoozer" who pretends to be your friend so he can get into your wallet. He tries so hard, doesn't he?
But that's not you. It's certainly not the folks at Luckett & Farley. The best marketing you can do as service professionals is deliver quality (no pinky rings and cheesy smile required). That's the front line marketing that creates a good reputation. Clients will continue to utilize your services and give you referrals. That means marketing guys like me don't have to work so hard to compete for work, which you know has become increasingly difficult.
Tired of Constantly Chasing Work? Look Within.
Constantly chasing new work could mean you have poor front line marketing. Either you're not delivering a quality product (drawing, model, concept) or you're not delivering quality service (blowing budgets, don't return phone calls, poor engagement with the client). It's a narrow view, sure, but we know it's true.
So let's not kill ourselves trying to compete, forcing the schmoozer to chase new clients day after day spending lots of resources doing it. Focus on front line marketing first. Be honest with your clients and practice open communication. Would you rather explain why you held up a deadline to improve quality or deliver shoddy work with your name on it? You don't get too many chances to do that.