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Why quick buck marketing never works

Ever chased a quick lead, an amazing Google ranking or a staff member to “solve all your problems”? These quick buck marketing methods might work for a while, but generally fall flat after 6-12 months. Here’s what you should be doing instead.

Ever wanted to fast track the marketing of your professional service? Feel tempted to try and buy leads from an indirect lead generation source or BD company, or buy backlinks or search engine marketing (SEM) for your website so that you can get a flow of desirable clients “coming directly to you”? Or perhaps you’d like to hire an in-house sales person to go out and build client relationships on behalf of your billable staff in the hope that they will sell your services and make you a quick buck.

Well, I hate to say it, but in 17 years of working in and marketing services firms, I haven’t seen a “quick buck-marketing” idea that works yet. Sure, we can chase legitimate low hanging fruit in a marketplace with good marketing and structured business development that reaches out to the most logical targets first, but what we can’t do is press a button, and expect an immediate, effortless, revenue enhancing return without any personal engagement from your professional staff and your prospective targets.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of businesses who will sell you the above. A quick lead, an amazing ranking on Google, and a staff member to “solve all your problems”, but pretty much always, these solutions fall flat after 6-12 months with the services firm reconsidering their options after parting with tens of thousands of dollars (or more) and receiving nothing but ordinary leads with low conversion rates or a misunderstood business that looks “oversold” to the external market.

If you have ever been through it, you’ll understand, and if you haven’t, consider this.

If you are looking to sell an honest professional service where you provide your time and technical expertise in exchange for a fee for service, then you are selling people, the very people that work for your business. You are selling their ability and their knowledge and their credibility. How can you sell that if you lock them in a room, providing a service with no contact with the marketplace? How can you sell that using a couple of thousand back links on the web; solid ranking on a search engine, or a fast talking salesman? you can try, but I’ll bet that you won’t get a return on your investment in a hurry.

As a shining example, I inquired very specifically about a boardroom booking at a particular serviced office on a website early last year.  My lead and contact details was clearly sold to about 20 companies, all competing with each other, and paying handsomely for the privilege of receiving my phone number. In a period of just two short weeks, I received 14 direct sales calls from different serviced office facilities trying to sell me anything they could, when all I did was make one website enquiry about a specific office and facility. How impressed with any of these aggressive sales calls do you think I was after about the third call?

In my experience all you get out of this type of marketing is tire-kickers; unqualified, unconnected leads that hit your business with you suspecting you might be able to sell something,

Wouldn’t you rather a qualified lead looking for an honest service, referred to you by your community or target audience because your business does a good job?

In marketing you have a choice, you can choose to try and buy yourself an answer, trying quick buck marketing tactics on for size, or you can accept that despite the tools changing, marketing a service is still marketing your people and get on with being an organic, honest part of your target markets, offering value, effort and energy to your community.

It is more important than ever today to  understand your target markets well, and build marketing that allows people to  explore what they would get when they buy your services.

To be frank, if you have a really marketable professional services business, the people who provide the services in your firm should be the best in your business at describing, discussing the value of, and engaging with clients who need the service, selling it and all the benefits. Sure they may need help pulling it together, but you still should be able to get there.

If they can’t do this, there is usually a greater problem in your people, HR management and training and that is another discussion, another day.

What do you think?

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Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is Managing Director and Principal Consultant of professional services and growth marketing firm Stretch Marketing, Rebecca and her team provide strategic business development advice, support and implementation to professional service providers and high growth entrepreneurial businesses throughout Australia.

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