As you recall, in last week’s blog I provided a six-item checklist to help you determine how well positioned you are to get word-of-mouth and mindshare marketing working for you.
Last week I discussed the importance of building a unique brand. Today, I address the commitment needed to develop a one-of-a-kind practice. Specifically, I examine the second question on the checklist:
“Have you committed all of your time, money, and energy to developing the distinctive quality for which you want your practice to be known–that is, the characteristic that sets you apart from your competition?
Or, are you squandering your resources by attempting to build a generic practice intended to meet all potential ADR clients’ needs?”
I have seen many providers fail to develop a practice because they assumed that obtaining ADR certification and printing business cards were the only steps needed to garner a profitable caseload.
This, unfortunately, is not the case.
Building a successful practice requires that you devote time and concerted effort toward marketing. Being an ADR provider–even a very skilled one–is not sufficient in and of itself to generate a thriving practice; you need to actively harvest a stream of potential clients by getting the word out about who you serve (your target market), how your practice benefits your target market, and what makes you special.
The easiest and least expensive way to market your practice is to tell everyone you know and meet, whether they be extended family, neighbors, acquaintances, or members of clubs, associations, or the congregation to which you belong, what you do for a living and what makes your practice distinctive so that they can refer appropriate clients to you. Be sure to carry your business cards with you at all times, even to the supermarket, dry cleaners, or gym. Wherever you go, talk about your practice and pass out your card.
In addition to ensuring that everyone you know knows what you do, you should capitalize on your unique marketing talents. Bear in mind that the more creative you are with the time and energy you invest in publicizing your work, the less money you will need to spend. If you’re a seasoned public speaker, give speeches to all the Chambers of Commerce within a 50 mile radius of your office, your local bar association, and to churches/synagogues. But most importantly speak to your primary and secondary target markets. If you have a flair for the written word, submit articles to association newsletters or your hometown paper and most importantly the newsletters, blogs, and periodicals that your primary and secondary target markets read. If you’re a gifted artist, design an eye-catching brochure, business card, and web site (if you’re not artistic, hire someone to do these all important tasks).
If you commit time, energy, and loving care to cultivating your practice, like all living things, it will grow.
Next week –
Have you developed a niche that leverages your background and expertise? Or, are you trying to build a practice that fails to draw on your previous professional experience?