Before selling my business to Aston Scott in 2014, I spent the previous six years trying to fill in the gaps in my Sales and Marketing knowledge.
In Insurance industry terms, I am a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute, and therefore at the apex of my profession. I came to running my own company with the benefit of nearly 30 years of International experience in the industry, and a history of success.
However, it didn’t take me long to realise that no matter how professional, qualified and knowledgeable I may be about the technical side of my industry, my London Market experience to date had left me lacking in any real understanding about how to promote my business in order to win new clients.
Added to that the Financial Conduct Authority was beginning to regulate my industry and give fairly strict rules about what you could actually say.
For inspiration and understanding I looked at larger companies in my industry, but everywhere I looked I found lacklustre marketing that seemed to major on how many offices the enterprise had rather than demonstrating that they understood the needs of the customer.
Disappointed with what I found there, I looked outside the industry and found inspiration from people such as Nigel Botterill at the Entrepreneurs’ Circle.
Now, I am not here to do a commercial for “Botty” (even though he is good), but rather to start our journey with a question………….
If we Professional companies are so concerned about establishing our credibility, why is it that our marketing generally does so little to convince our potential customers that we understand their problems better than our competitors?
Having posed that question, it now feels a little like that moment in “Take Me Out” where the male contestant gets to see how many women turn off their lights J
However, assuming that your “light is still on” - if only for curiosity sake – let's go one stage further……..
Most sales trainers will tell you that three conditions need to be in place for a “sale” to be concluded - the client must
1). Understand his own needs or wants;
2). Believe that the product (or service ) he is buying meets his needs / wants, and
3). Understand fully his obligations including the price to be paid.
Given that items 2) and 3) can only be achieved after a discussion with the client to understand his particular situation, shouldn’t our initial contact with the client (our marketing) first try to help the client believe that we are able to understand his needs and wants?
In my experience, most of us professionals are too busy trying to be the “industry norm” and follow the herd rather than make our marketing truly customer centric.
If we do that, how can the target client tell us apart from the next accountant, solicitor, insurance broker, wealth manager, printer, management consultant, web site designer or marketer?
In short they cannot…………and it all comes down to the price!
It is really hard to show our exceptional USP as “Upper Quartile” professionals when the clients start treating our service as a commodity……………
I am happy to discuss this with fellow professionals, see how I can help, and which of our clients may benefit from our services.
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