Marketing Your Professional Practice

Many people only think of advertising when they think of marketing. Although marketing includes advertising, it is much more than just advertising. Marketing is anything you do to increase sales of your goods and services.

In this article, I will give you some different ways of thinking about marketing. Chances are good that you have some negative thinking regarding selling your products or services. Your practice will be limited until you change your thinking.

Where do you start? Some say to start with the needs of your target market. As a professional entrepreneur, start with you. What do you enjoy? What do you want to do? Once you have gone through the process in How You Can Achieve Your Income Goals, you are ready to think about your market.

Is there a market for what you want to do? Keep in mind that you might have to create the market. There is a story about a door-to-door shoe salesman. He was so successful, others were jealous. They had him transferred to a remote village in Africa. They thought that would fix him. He wrote back, “Send help. Can’t handle all the demand. Nobody has any shoes.”

That is true for every new product. People have to be shown how life will be better with your product or service. Jim Hefley, branch manager at IBM, told us, “If I only sold people what they thought they needed, I’d still be cleaning chicken coups in Arkansas. What we must do is paint a picture in the customer’s mind of what life will be like once they have our products.”

What is life like for your customer? (I used to take slight offense at the term customer instead of patients. Others like the word clients. Others like practice members. I realized that, from a business point of view, they are all customers.) How would your customer’s life be better after using your product or service?

Your goods or services
Now —————————–>Later

You, or your goods and services, provide the bridge between now and later.

Write down what you want to do. Write down how much your fees will be. Write down your ideal customer. Your ideal customer is someone who wants your goods or services and has the means to pay your fees.

Medicine is full of examples of people that do not know they have a condition until they have an examination. Then the doctor sells them on treating the condition. You might find yourself taking offense at the word “sells”.

My very first instructor in my IBM training said, “How many of you are in sales? Just raise your hand.”

The class was divided between marketing reps and systems engineers. I was being trained as a systems engineer. The marketing reps all raised their hands.  I did not raise mine.

The instructor then yelled, “WHAT THE HELL DID WE HIRE THE REST OF YOU FOR!”

He made a point. We are all in sales. He went on to tell us why we have a bad idea about sales. We think of sales as tricking people to buy something they don’t want. He said that selling was a process of finding a customer’s problem and matching it with an IBM solution. Then explaining it so that they bought it. It was really a matter of education.

Selling is really a matter of education.

Think of that when selling your products or services. You are finding a customer’s need and helping by providing your solution. If they don’t buy your solution, they will continue to suffer the consequences of not having it. Change your thinking and you’ll change what you do. Change what you do and you’ll change what you get. If you believe in your goods and services, then you know that your customers will be better once they use them. You are doing them a favor by educating them.

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