Like many people, I am not a big fan of either promoting or pitching professional services.
As much as I recognize the importance of promoting our services, far too frequently this process defaults to little more than shameless self-promotion.
When I need professional help, I’m not really interested in how good service-providers think they are … I want to know how they can help me.
And when it comes to pitching, that’s an activity that is better suited to a baseball diamond than generating more new business.
From my earliest days of marketing my legal services, I recognized the effectiveness of helping potential clients learn as an approach to generating new business.
One of my most successful marketing initiatives was a series entitled Preventive Business Practices.
In this series, a panel of professionals, including me, offered the audience tips and suggestions as to what they could to prevent serious issues in various areas of their businesses.
I have now come to recognize that the business that educated the most, wins the most clients. My experience with Preventive Business Practices certainly confirmed the validity of that belief.
Why Educate Clients?
In the simplest of terms there are three stages at which it is important to educate clients.
Stage 1: Prospective Clients
At this point, your potential clients may, or may not, have recognized that:
1. they have an issue that can be resolved
2. you can help them address and resolve their issue.
Regardless of whether or not potential clients have recognized they have a resolvable issue, the purpose of your client education is to help them understand that when they are ready to address their issue, you are the right person to help them.
Stage 2: Active Clients
Very often, clients who are receiving the benefits of our service, do not always recognize the value that they are also receiving.
As a result, the risk is that they undervalue your help or worse dismiss it as something anyone could do.
At this stage, effective education will help clients understand and appreciate the value of the benefits that they are receiving.
Stage 3: Relationship Maintenance
Post-engagement education helps clients remember the value that they received from your service.
Not only will this encourage clients to return for repeat business, it will also increase their willingness to recommend you to others and refer others to you.
Parables--The Best Educational Tools
The parable, a popular literary device play an important role in educating clients.
A parable is a figure of speech, which presents a short story, typically with a moral lesson at the end.
Here is an example:
Life Is Like a Cup of Coffee
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.
Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee.
When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: “If you noticed, all the nice-looking expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.
Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive, and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups. And then you began eyeing each other’s cups.
Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live.
Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee. Savor the coffee, not the cups! The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.
The Benefits of Parables
As noted, parables typically with a moral lesson at the end.
From educational perspective, telling a story is much more effective than simply
preaching or lecturing the lesson to be learned.
Which is more memorable and longer lasting: the 269-word story about coffee cups …or the 16-word statement: The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.
But don’t just take my word for it.
Think about your own life experiences: you too will find little parables that can help tell the story of the attractive character you really are.
What lessons have you learned on your journey through life can you share with others?
How can you set up these lessons as parables to help clients understand who you are and how you can help them?
In other words, how can you use parables to help tell your brand story?
To learn more about what a brand story is and how to create your own, check out
any or all of the following articles:
This is yesterday’s article which addresses the importance of
presenting yourself as the attractive character in your brand story.
This article will help you learn more about the role that storytelling plays in your personal brand.
In this article youwill learn more about creating an authentic brand story that will engage your audience and potential clients.
Second, the content about sharing your character flaws was taken from lesson 6 of How Personal Branding Generates More New Business.
This video course will help you learn what you need to know to develop the story of you serve and satisfy clients.
And in the FREE laser coaching which is included for a limited time, we can rework and refine your personal brand to your satisfaction.