4 Strategies and 20 Tactics for growing an advice business
Sales & Marketing for Professional Services & Strategic Issues

4 Strategies and 20 Tactics for growing an advice business

October 16, 2012

By Tony Vidler

Pretty much every day advisers ask about ways of getting more business….they want fresh ideas; the business satisfaction of solving new problems for new people; they want to do something NEW.

When you ask whether they want new business or whether they want new clients, there is usually a delicate pause….followed by “BOTH Please“.

Are you sure that’s what you really want?

Often, after a few probing questions advisers realise that their objective is not necessarily to have more customers as such.  The real objectives nearly always come down to things like “I want a bigger presence in the market”….or “I want my customers to value me more and give US more of their business instead of giving some to XYZ company”.

Getting more business in the door is much easier if you develop a very simple and succinct objective that identifies who you are going after, and why.  Virtually every adviser business has limitations on its marketing budget, available time and staff resources, and constraints on how much can be handled rapidly in the way of new business or new clients.

To work out where to focus your energy and limited resources think about what you have in the way of products or services to begin with.  Then consider whether you are really after new customers, or just wish to do better with the customers you have.  You can then determine that there are really only 4 big business objectives you could be going after:

Once the true objective is identified, the ideas to achieve the goal become relatively simple to generate and sort.  Here are just a few suggestions:

Grow Market Share

  • start a blog for visibility and credibility – become known as an expert in your product/service space
  • create a content rich website – lots of useful information and tools to help potential customers know that you have the answers
  • provide media releases on your area of expertise in direct response to topical stories – become a “source” for journalists
  • place extra emphasis upon referral generation – earn the right for them, but let everyone know you want them if you have earned the right
  • have a very strong USP that is reflected in all your marketing material

Market Expansion

  • identify your ideal target market – run some research groups or focus groups and find out what they want and need
  • work out who the centres of influence are in the target market and cultivate them
  • advertise – traditional and digital….advertise as much as you can in the areas where your target market are waiting
  • have a very strong online presence, utilizing all elements of digital marketing including social media platforms (with a strong SEO strategy).
  • get your branding right for the target market – get experts to help you ensure consistency across all your material
  • be product or solutions experts publicly.  Provide whitepapers, podcasts, video tutorials…be the fount of knowledge for potential customers

Cross Selling

  • put in place a process of talking to your top half dozen clients with the single purpose of finding out what they perceive their issues are, or where they think you should be providing some help.
  • letter & email campaigns piggy-backing high profile stories and advertising campaigns (e.g. When a “non claim” insurance debacle is on the front pages, let your clients know how your solutions or products DO work)
  • look for sales and campaign strategies to emulate in similar, but not directly competing industries (e.g. travel, banking, other professional services)
  • put together an action plan for each of your A clients.  Make sure you know what they have now, what their issues are, where the opportunities are to cross sell ethically, and then put the plan into action.
  • Then do the same with your B clients….

Customer Retention

  • remember your customers birthdays – send them a card or call them.
  • have a systematic regular contact process – high frequency, minimal sales or generic product information – “high touch” service
  • find out about your customers likes and dislikes, and their family and professional relationships – capture the data, and use it to personalize service and your relationship with them
  • maintain social media presence on the platforms that your customers most frequently use personally.  Use it to monitor feedback and provide basic service functions.
  • run information seminars and workshops
  • have a charter, or promise of commitments that you display and refer to prominently and regularly.  Then live by it.
  • Think about how your business can be a “convenience” place for customers…whether it is providing parking, or handling their automatic bank payment changes for them….
  • survey your clients at least once a year.  Pay attention to the responses and act upon them.  Then report in general terms on the changes you made following the survey. (show them you are listening and responding)

This is a fairly abbreviated list of possible strategies that a business might employ to achieve their objective of “getting more in the door”.  If you  are able to be quite clear about your objective for the type of business you want more of, then it will help you work out what are the most appropriate tactics to go after it.

That way you are less likely to be wasting your marketing efforts and budget, and are far more likely to be getting more of the sort of business you actually want.


© 2012 Tony Vidler.  All rights reserved. All materials contained on this web site not otherwise subject to copyright of other parties are subject to the ownership rights of Tony Vidler.  Tony Vidler authorises you to make a single copy of the content herein for your own personal, non-commercial, use while visiting the site. You agree that any copy made must include the Tony Vidler copyright notice in full. No other permission is granted to you to print, copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, upload, download, store, display in public, alter, or modify the content contained on this web site.

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