White paper on social media in selling for lawyers, accountants and surveyors

Posted on: December 15, 2010

A while back I got together with a well known consultant in digital marketing and social media to produce a White Paper providing guidance to lawyers, accountants and surveyors – and their business development advisers – on the use of social media in selling and integrating social media into their marketing, selling and relationship management activities.

I started collaborating with Peter Abraham of Econsultancy back in June 2010 to prepare for a series of workshops with the Professional Marketing Forum Annual Conference in September 2010. Questionnaires were issued in advance to assess the sophistication in both sales processes and social media and workshop exercises concentrated on developing best practice guidance. We worked further to build on this information to develop a new model which is described in the White Paper.

Many professional firms have embraced social media in their marketing practices – primarily because the marketing and business development professionals are leading the way. However, the sales process is usually in the hands of the lawyers, accountants and surveyors themselves and we wanted to find ways to integrate with and enhance their traditional new business selling and relationship management practices.

Peter commented “Whilst many of our clients are large, international organisations who are relatively advanced in their use of digital marketing and social media the area of social media and selling is less well developed. The professions focus more on existing client relationship management and new business sales in a much more personal way – often leveraging expert content – and we were keen to find ways to support them in this. We have provided guidance for those firms who are just beginners, intermediate and more advanced in their selling and social media practices”.

Over 40 delegates from 35 firms participated in the research and workshop exercises. The 25 page white paper contains the following sections:

  • Assessing selling skills and social media knowledge
  • Best practice – Defining and aligning social media best practice in professional firms
  • Social media for beginner, intermediate and “star” (advanced) fee-earners
  • Social media in existing relationship management
  • Social media in selling to new clients
  • Key themes emerging
  • Towards a model that integrates social media and selling in the professions
  • 11 Key Lessons
  • And next – what’s trending?
  • Further reading (Professional Bodies, useful guides and books (Selling, Social Media, Digital Marketing))

We have also launched a LinkedIn group for those who are interested in commenting upon the ideas and/or participating in further research in the area. Details: Selling and Social Media in the Professions http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=3717399

A copy of the white paper can be obtained free of charge by emailing Kim Tasso of Practical Marketing Consultancy (kim@kimtasso.com) or Peter Abraham of Econsultancy (peter.abraham@econsultancy.com).

Some background information about Peter:

Peter’s a director at Econsultancy.com which provides best practice in Digital Marketing and assists companies in building effective digital marketing teams. He has an MSc in Digital Marketing, runs various Linkedin groups and Twitter profiles, and has presented on how to use social media with established digital marketing channels and ‘What’s trending in Digital Marketing’. He is currently particularly interested/involved in mobile and social/business networks and how the ‘mobile web’ will transform a world which was wired and static into one which is fluid, mobile and accessible to all.

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4 Comments on “White paper on social media in selling for lawyers, accountants and surveyors

  1. Successful selling in professional services is essentially about engineering face-to-face time with a prospective client, understanding what their advisory needs are, and then making a compelling case as to why you/your firm should be used to deliver this advice rather than one of your competitors. Personally, I see little role for social media in this process.

    There are too many people trying to jump onto this bandwagon to convince lawyers, accountants, surveyors, etc. to ‘invest’ in social media – it is being promoted as the new panacea to firms’ marketing problems! Stick to the ‘old fashioned’ stuff – at least it works. Raise your profile through effective thought leadership, target individuals directly to get diary time, and then research their needs so that you can accurately position your proposition in an effective way.

  2. Kevin. Thanks for this. We are not advocating social media as a panacea. But for certain lawyers, accountants and surveyors with clients in some markets it is a useful additional tool – if used appropriately as part of an integrated marketing and sales campaign. It is certainly not seen as a replacement for face-to-face contact, nor all the other important selling principles and practices (on which I have written extensively – and even wrote the first book on selling in the professions many years ago). The debate on LinkedIn is interesting and helpful to all – please continue to contribute your comments.

  3. The LinkedIn group – Selling and Social Media in the Professions – has separate discussions for lawyers, accountants and surveyors – please join the debate

  4. Highlights from the McKinsey article on demystifying social media

    Highlights from the McKinsey article on demystifying social media

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