A well-respected education, industry experience, and a book of contacts are no longer enough for a professional service provider to achieve success; greater entrepreneurial skills are now required, and each professional is now forced to become a hustler, according to Ari Kaplan in his book Reinventing Professional Services: Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace. The book seeks to help professionals find their way in a more informal, instant world.
To increase your professional opportunities, you need to become what the author describes as a “visible enthusiastic expert”. Social media provide means by which you can increase your visibility, and technology offers ways of improving communication. Networking is still important, but it has become more complicated with the rise of social media platforms. Networking is not about collecting business cards, Facebook friends or followers, but about connecting and relating to people.
The book goes on to describe a number of other topics relevant to the marketing of professional services, including how to seize opportunities in a difficult economic environment, flexibility in fee arrangements, networking for students, the importance of knowing your clients’ businesses, how to maximise the value you offer to clients, building trust, setting expectations, handling mistakes, and cultivating community.
Most professionals do not enjoy hustling for business, and they are likely to feel uncomfortable with some of the advice given in this book. On the other hand, there are now numerous different ways in which professional networking can be achieved, and any reader is likely to derive inspiration from at least some of the many tools which the author mentions. This is not the most systematic treatment of professional services marketing that I have read, but it contains quite a number of useful ideas.