Monthly Archives: September 2012

Professional services marketing: are you up for the 1 action per day challenge?

by Kirsten Hodgson

Do you ever have every intention of doing something…

…but for one reason or another you just don’t get around to it?

Maybe something more urgent crops up.

Or the day runs away with you.

Or perhaps you’re struggling or just not that motivated to do it.

Whatever the reason, a lot of us have things that keep appearing on our ‘to do’ lists day after day, week after week. And we never seem to get around to doing them.

Until now.

The 100 day challenge

I joined the Happiness Experiment a few months ago. Initiated by Kate Billing, whose focus is on making the world a better (work)place, Kate suggested writing down three good things each day. It’s a way of giving you a positive mindset and being grateful for the little things (even on those horrendous days it’s amazing the silver linings you can find).

More recently Kate asked people to join her in a 100 day challenge: it could be anything you were inspired to do and you had to commit to simple daily actions for 100 days. There were three guidelines:

  • make a commitment
  • work your edge (stretch past your comfort zone!) AND
  • follow through (forgiving yourself when you don’t and beginning again)

Given my tendency to procrastinate I decided to commit to doing one thing each day that I wouldn’t normally get around to.

I’m 14 days in and my ‘to do’ list is getting shorter. Plus it’s actually getting easier to do the things I would normally put off.

I’ve:

  • made several phone calls I was uncomfortable about making
  • written and posted some thank you cards (in record time)
  • progressed a project that’s been on the back-burner for four months because I’ve been too busy to work on it
  • and completed several other tasks – both work related and personal.

What’s this got to do with professional services marketing?

As professionals we’re busy.

And we tend to prefer doing the things we’re good at, or that we can tick off quickly.

That means things like business development initiatives are often put on the back burner in favour of client work.

Even when there’s not too much work on it’s easy to avoid getting out from behind our desks.

Particularly if what we know we need to do is outside our comfort zone.

However, doing one thing per day really isn’t so daunting.

Plus, if you commit to it, there’s something inside you that really wants to get it done so that it’s not hanging over your head.

You could even let a colleague, friend or partner know your goals for the week so that they can hold you accountable.

Imagine how much more you could achieve and how much more of the work you love, you could be doing.

So I’m going to set you the same challenge Kate set:

Commit to doing one thing each day for the next 100 days and see what happens.

It could be:

  • writing a personal note to 1 client each day.
  • calling 1 contact each day just to find out how things are going.
  • doing 1 thing to help a colleague each day.
  • doing 1 business development task each day – one day it might be coffee, the next it might be asking for some client feedback, attending an event, or starting a conversation on LinkedIn

You get the gist – so long as you’re focused and the activity will contribute towards your overall goals.

Interestingly, 100 days is (according to Kate) the period of time for technical practice for improved performance ( for example the Suzuki school of violin practice).

If you can develop this habit, imagine how much you could achieve, and how much better you could serve your clients.

What action are you going to commit to?

Have you done anything similar? If so, I’d love to hear how it went and the benefits from doing it.

Related posts:

Natalie Sisson’s 100 change – be inspired by 100 change makers in 100 days

Kate Billing’s The Happiness Experiment

 

 

Can professionals get business from Facebook?

by Kirsten Hodgson

Jay Pinkert wrote a great post a few weeks ago titled ‘It’s time for Legal Marketers to put Facebook away’

He says legal marketers should:

“take a pragmatic, unsentimental and non-magical thinking look at their Facebook activities and make a tough decision on whether to continue the quixotic pursuit of the unicorn called Facebook marketing success.”

I have to admit, I’m not aware of any professional services firms that have generated work from Facebook via their company pages, although there are a couple that have built a community by connecting with people at a personal level.

And, of course, there are several that have assisted with graduate recruitment.

But are company Facebook pages a good lead generation tool?

I don’t believe so (but I’d love to be proved wrong!)

However, reaching out to people from your personal Facebook account can be.

I know an accountant in New Zealand who brings in between $20,000-$30,000 of new business each year from Facebook. He joined Facebook groups where property investors congregated, had conversations and shared information valuable to them. As a result a number asked him to connect with them and he began receiving work.

And there’s a lawyer who’s started to get relationship property and divorce work via her network as a result of asking questions and sharing articles those either entering or exiting a relationship will be interested in.

A number of her Facebook friends are at this stage in their lives, or know someone who is. As a result they either respond to her posts or share them with others who do.

The boundary between our professional and personal lives is blurring

Many of us are not comfortable with the blurring of the boundary between our professional and personal lives.

But in this day and age, where there are so many competing businesses vying for attention, it is easy for company pages to get lost. I don’t know about you but, even if I like a page I tend to gloss over any content that appears on my wall.

However, I read my friends’ posts much more carefully. If they were to post something that could help me or another of my friends, I’d definitely get in touch.

So, maybe that’s the way to go.

Perhaps we should do away with professional service firms Facebook pages that have been set up for lead generation and encourage those people in our teams comfortable doing so, to build relevant professional content into their personal streams.

It can yield results.

What’s your view?

Have you won any business via your firm’s Facebook page? I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

A simple way to ensure BD and marketing initiatives don’t fall off your radar when you’re busy

by Kirsten Hodgson

Photo: Wheel Hub by Brenda Anderson via Flickr

Have you ever intended to do something and then just got too busy?

Do your marketing and business development initiatives fall off the radar in favour of client work?

Perhaps you need a squeeky wheel. Someone who holds you accountable.

Someone who follows you up on a pre-determined basis to check you’ve done what you said you were going to.

Ideally someone you don’t like to let down.

It may be a business coach, a colleague, a friend, your partner…so long as it’s someone who challenges you and who doesn’t let you make excuse after excuse (there are absolutely times when you can’t get things done but these should be the exception rather than the rule).

It’s only by consistently doing a little and often that you see any traction.

Otherwise you tend to experience the ‘feast or famine’ nature of many professional practices.

One thing that’s worked for one of my clients is to commit to three actions per week and to carry them out. As a result, he consistently meets or exceeds his fee target and has found he is getting referrals from an increasing number of sources.

Are you?

If not, then maybe it’s time you got your own ‘squeaky wheel’

What’s your view?

LinkedIn tests its new skills endorsements product – what it is, and some profile changes you may want to make

by Kirsten Hodgson

A couple of weeks ago LinkedIn began to test its ‘skills endorsements’ product in New Zealand. Last Thursday the test was rolled out in Australia. It’s a great addition that will hopefully be rolled out more widely over time.

This post looks at what it is, why it’s so good and some changes you might want to make to your profile as a result of this.

What is the skills endorsements product?

This allows LinkedIn users to endorse the skills of other LinkedIn users. When someone endorses you a blue box pops up with the words ‘now its your turn. Endorse your connections’ and then suggests a skill for each of your connections. You can choose whether to endorse them. Alternatively you can go into an individual’s profile and endorse them for one, or several of their skills, there.

If you go to the skills section within a person’s profile you simply click the + button that appears next to any skill you wish to endorse and, bingo, your profile photo will appear beside it.

 

Why is it so good?

What I love about this product is it’s so easy and quick to use.

Angus Ogilvie, an accountant and tax specialist focused on SMEs, summed it up nicely when he said: “It is a time saver compared with typing up a recommendation although I would still do that if asked. It’s all good!”

I don’t think the endorsements product is a replacement for recommendations, but it does add to it. Reading recommendations and then seeing someone has been endorsed by people you know, respect or trust could be a pretty powerful combination.

What should you do as a result of this development?

The release of this product means you need to ensure you’ve added skills (and the correct ones) to your LinkedIn profile and that you have a profile photo if you wish to endorse someone else! Because it is a painless process to endorse someone, people are likely to do so. If you haven’t added skills to your profile, you may miss out.

You might also want to move the skills section of your profile higher. To do so, select ‘edit profile’ from the drop down box under the ‘Profile’ tab on your LinkedIn toolbar. Scroll down to the skills section. Hover over the heading, wait a couple of seconds until it turns blue, and then drag to the position in which you’d like it to appear.

The endorsements product is a great way to acknowledge the work of suppliers, peers and clients (if you are able to judge their capabilities in a particular area) and it gives you another way to stay top of mind with your LinkedIn connections.

However, I’d advise you use your common sense. Only endorse someone if you KNOW they have good skills in a particular area, otherwise people may begin to doubt your judgement in future!

What do you think of the LinkedIn endorsements feature?