|Clientology is the science of attracting, keeping and growing revenues with clients.
Clientology is the study of attracting, keeping and increasing revenues from clients. The money clients pay us is a sign of the appreciation they have for what we do for them. They deserve nothing less than our best.
The idea of clients comes from the ancient Roman empire. Clientela (patronage) was the distinctive relationship in ancient Roman society between the patronus (plural patroni, “patron”) and his cliens (client, plural clientes). The relationship was hieracrchical, but obligations were mutual. Typically the client was of an inferior social class, but sometimes the client and patron might hold the same social rank. The patronus was a person who possessed greater power, prestige or wealth, which enabled him to do favors for the client. The patronus was the protector, sponsor and benefactor of the client.
When I ran a large advertising and public relations agency, I tried to impress upon my staff that clients have entrusted us with an important part of their lives, and we should serve them as we would serve a dear friend who turned over an important matter to us. Today, as the assistant dean for continuing education at UC San Diego, I am doing the same.
In ancient Rome, the pressures to uphold one’s obligations were primarily moral, founded on the ancestral custom and the qualities of fides (“trust, reliability”) on the part of the patron and the dutiful devotion demonstrated by the client. Some historians believe this arrangement went back to founding of Rome.
To attract new clients today, you need to prove yourself trustworthy. The best approach I have uncovered is to demonstrate your expertise by giving away valuable information through writing and speaking. In addition, you can increase closing rates up to 50% to 100% by discovering and rehearsing the right questions to ask prospective clients
Understanding the psychology of prospective clients provides critical evidence of the validity of the getting published and giving speeches. Professional services and consulting are what economists sometimes call “credence” goods, in that purchasers must place great faith in those who sell the services (Bloom, October 1984, ” Effective Marketing for Professional Services,” Harvard Business Review). You build faith by being an expert who writes articles and gives speeches on how potential clients can solve their problems in general (they hire you for the specifics).
What does the research say about how prospective clients decide if they trust professionals and consultants? Here are the five ways prospects judge you (Aaker, 1995, Strategic Market Management) and my views of how marketing yourself by writing a book is the perfect fit:
- Competence. Knowledge and skill of the professional or consultant and their ability to convey trust and confidence (you demonstrate and prove your expert knowledge by speaking and writing and by the questions you ask prospective clients)
- Tangibles. Appearance of physical facilities, communication materials, equipment and personnel (you do this by the appearance of your Web site, book and how-to handouts)
- Empathy. Caring, individualized attention that a firm provides its clients (educating people to solve problems before they hire you proves you care)
- Responsiveness. Willingness to help customers and provide prompt service (when you promise to give people things like special reports and white papers, do it promptly)
- Reliability. Ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately (prospective clients will judge you on how organized your seminars, speeches and website are)
Even if you believe in the writing and speaking model, how do you find time to do it and still get client and admin work done? No professional or consultant ever believes they have too much time on their hands. However, nothing worth happening in business ever just happens. The answer is to buy out the time for marketing.
Please know this: the universe rewards activity. Start by asking clients about their pains. Gather information on how to solve those worries, frustrations and concerns. Be the expert who educates people on how they compare to their peers and the best ways to overcome their obstacles. The more prospects you inform how to solve their problems in general, the more will hire you for the specifics. In the words of motivational speaker Zig Ziglar: “You can get whatever you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want.”
Want to learn more? Then attend one of the four and a half “Marketing With A Book Summits for Consultants” that I am hosting in 2012. More information is available at www.marketingwithabook.com/summit