How to grow your service business (part two)

In the first part of this article, we looked at why the ‘expert’ model is so important for the success of service firms. By following the model and applying it to your business you will see sales and profits grow exponentially. The Grow Your Service Firm book gives examples of businesses that have done just that.

So what does an expert do?

An expert focuses – they have a focus on specific people (target clients) who have specific problems and issues (dilemma/pain/hurt). Experts have their own 30-second introduction sorted and defined, focusing on target clients and benefits.

An expert writes – ‘how to’ guides, white papers, research, surveys, articles, columns, books, ”10 things to know about …’, ‘Impact of new legislation…’. These focus on the needs of the target clients and refer to the unique skills that the expert can bring to solve the potential client’s dilemma/pain/hurt.

An expert possesses – a website, a blog, the knowledge, a Filofax (if you are old enough to remember what one of those is/was) to die for… the (appropriate) tools an expert would be expected to have

An expert knows – the movers and shakers, influencers, key people in their world or at least they have access to them. They know the people that need to be known, especially in their field of expertise. They are the trainer’s trainer, the expert’s expert, the consultant’s consultant.

An expert speaks – at the chamber, networking events, workshops, seminars, business clubs, masterclasses, mastermind groups and so on. And the talks, like the articles, focus on the needs of the target clients and refer to the unique skills that the expert can bring to solve the potential client’s dilemma/pain/hurt.

As well as the five attributes above there are two additional, yet underpinning, concepts:

An expert has an ‘ology’, a way of doing things. Not necessarily unique, but a particular, systematic approach that gives the client confidence that the outcome of the relationship can be predicted.

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An expert uses the power of testimonials and endorsements, which tell how other people with the same/similar dilemma/hurt/pains of the potential client met with the expert, how the expert applied the ‘ology’ and how the dilemma/hurt/pain was cured/removed/sorted!

The ‘expert’ model consists of a series of inter-connected activities; each is related to all the others as it repeats the same message and maintains the same focus, and you benefit from the cumulative effect of the consistency and uniqueness of your offering. More importantly, in the eyes of your potential client you are seen as the ‘subject matter expert’, the person that they would like to engage to work on their particular needs.

By systematically applying each part suddenly everything pulls together. The total is far greater than the sum of the parts.

When you are clear about your focus then you can clearly articulate:

… the overt business benefit that you offer … the real reason that people should believe you can deliver and … the dramatic difference that separates you from the crowd.

Suddenly you can answer the questions:

… “Why should I bother to buy from you?” and … “What makes you different from the rest?”

The impact is that when you meet, or write, or talk, or write advertising copy, or tweet, or message, or text, or present, or sell, you are delivering a 100% consistent message. Like DNA, the message should run through all you do. The message runs:

… We work with these types of people (eg teenage girls) … Who have these problems/issues (eg acute acne) … What we do is this (eg put them through a 10-day homeopathic treatment) … So that they get this (their skin and complexion clears up) … Which means that they also get this (they feel able to go out and socialise and enjoy themselves).

It is all about explaining the benefits (what’s left after you’ve ‘delivered’) and demonstrating that you really can deliver. It is not so much about selling as educating. It is not so much about advertising and pushing as about inviting people to join you. It is about becoming a customer magnet, attracting them towards you rather than endlessly interrupting and pushing yourself onto them. It is more subtle. It is more effective. It is altogether more pleasant for everyone involved. And it works. Big time.

And this impact is compounded by the inexpensive yet far-reaching social media tools you have at your disposal. The message will always be more important than the medium, so sort the message, deliver on your promises and your journey will have begun.

Robert Craven shows MDs and owners how to grow their sales and profits and focuses on how to do this in recessionary times. He is a keynote speaker and the author of business best-seller Kick-Start Your Business (foreword by Sir Richard Branson). His latest book Grow Your Service Firm is out now. He also runs The Directors’ Centre, helping growing businesses to grow. For further information, contact Robert Craven on 01225 851044


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