Every professional services marketeer knows how important it is to work with the professionals in the firm. Getting buy in is crucial and with some this comes easily. However, every professional services firm has one. One partner who doesn’t respond to emails, or who is the last to meet marketing deadlines. A partner who doesn’t want to engage in marketing.
These partners are often labelled as difficult. However, if you take a step back you can probably see that rather than a desire to be difficult, it is likely that something else is at play. The best way to work with someone who you find difficult is to understand what might be driving their behaviour. If you can understand why someone is the way they are, it can help you find ways to work with them. It might also help you see that they aren’t so bad after all!
Now, marketeers aren’t psychologists, nor are you expected to be, but an understanding of some of the pressures that drive certain behaviours can help you manage your internal relationships better.
There are numerous reasons why someone might be challenging to work with. One of the most common reasons is that people are busy. Partners are juggling a busy workload, with multiple deadlines, alongside managing teams and clients. Throw into the mix a discipline that they haven't studied and didn't sign up for and you can start to see why marketing emails get left in the "to-do pile".
Here we share some top marketing tips for professional services:
1. Work to their schedule.
Is there a time in the day that works best for them? Do they prefer emails rather than meetings? If you can establish early on – ideally by asking them directly, but perhaps finding out from those they work with - how and when they like to communicate, you can catch them when they are at their most receptive.
2. Keep communications clear and concise.
Do you need their assistance with a pitch? Do you want them to speak at an event? What do you need and when do you want it? If you are writing emails, bold the key points, use bullet points, and summarise.
3. Make it easy for them.
Anticipate what the professional will need next and do it before they ask for it. Make it easy for them to work with you. If you need a partner to send an email to a key contact, send a draft template email for them at the same time as making the request. If you are proactive and easy to work with, partners will be more receptive to working with you.
4. Practice active listening.
If you are struggling to work with a partner, ask them questions, listen. Ask them whether there is something you could do to help them engage in marketing. Be curious about what their strengths are. Is there something they would rather shy away from and why? The answers might surprise you.
5. Finally, don’t take it personally.
Remember that busy people are just that – busy.