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Reinventing Professional Services: Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace Hardcover – June 28, 2011
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"Packed with creative insights and practical advice, this is a must-have handbook for every service professional who wants to prosper in the digital age."
--Alex Terry, General Manager, Zoomerang Online Surveys & Polls
"Reinventing Professional Services offers valuable advice to all professionals looking to build their business during this period of unprecedented technological change. [P]rofessionals of all stripes are having their conventional wisdom rewritten. This book is an essential guide."
--Spencer Rascoff, CEO, Zillow
"This book expertly showcases the multitude of opportunities the digital age has brought to the professional services market. What's more, it sharpens the focus on the need to combine advanced technologies with a stronger, individualized approach to customers...."
--Mike Walsh, CEO, LexisNexis Legal & Professional
"There is a dramatic shift occurring in professional services and Ari Kaplan artfully characterizes that evolution. This book combines innovative perspectives with action-oriented ideas to provide a powerful road map for success."
- Warren Struhl, cofounder, Dale & Thomas Popcorn, and author, Starting Them Up
From the Inside Flap
Everyone's talking about how digital tools are leveling the business playing field, making information and skills available to all, but few are looking at what this really means for professionals in today's economy. The commoditization of most white-collar careers has left lawyers competing with do-it-yourself websites, and accountants persuading clients to hire them while simultaneously asking for the software files that provide the basis for their guidance. In Reinventing Professional Services: Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace, recognized business and career development expert Ari Kaplan presents the ideas and information that you need in order to stay successful.
Just because the rules of the game have changed, there is no reason that the intelligent, adaptable businessperson cannot continue to excel, perhaps even more so than ever before. Prosperity in the world of twenty-first-century business lies in taking calculated risks in order to stand out, including utilizing new technologies, making your business more searchable, and generally working to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack. At the heart of this new shift is a transition to supplementing your professional guidance with key resources that will help your clients thrive.
Straightforward and highly accessible, Reinventing Professional Services offers readily applicable advice that you can use to start strengthening client relationships right away, in order to regain lost ground and once more become a voice of authority in your field.
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To increase your professional opportunities, you need to become what the author describes as a "visible enthusiastic expert". Social media provide means by which you can increase your visibility, and technology offers ways of improving communication. Networking is still important, but it has become more complicated with the rise of social media platforms. Networking is not about collecting business cards, Facebook friends or followers, but about connecting and relating to people.
The book goes on to describe a number of other topics relevant to the marketing of professional services, including how to seize opportunities in a difficult economic environment, flexibility in fee arrangements, networking for students, the importance of knowing your clients' businesses, how to maximise the value you offer to clients, building trust, setting expectations, handling mistakes, and cultivating community.
Most professionals do not enjoy hustling for business, and they are likely to feel uncomfortable with some of the advice given in this book. On the other hand, there are now numerous different ways in which professional networking can be achieved, and any reader is likely to derive inspiration from at least some of the many tools which the author mentions. This is not the most systematic treatment of professional services marketing that I have read, but it contains quite a number of useful ideas.
"We must engage in a broader conversation that enables providers of services to reinvent instead of simply repeat past services," he says. Technology is a driver of that conversation as well as social media, but ultimately, the most successful professionals today are what Kaplan refers to as White Collar Hustlers. The recession and technology's impact has made it more difficult for professionals to build and sustain relationships with the same longevity as in years past. Now, professionals need to "hustle" by becoming more entrepreneurial - from identifying common connections with clients or customers by leveraging social media to becoming Visible Enthusiastic Experts, those who create opportunities to interact with their core audience.
Kaplan argues that success today requires both skill and style and explains how technology can help professionals hone both. His practical approach allows readers to either apply any one of or all of his strategies to their business. Each chapter provides a thoughtful, overall message that applies to professional service providers such as lawyers, doctors or accountants and marketers, as well.
Kaplan does a great job in underscoring the value of personal interaction. "While technology offers advantages in terms of setting the foundation for sincere relationships, personal interaction is what helps it develop. Mastering the balance between technology and the relationship that it impacts, however, often contributes to professional success.
Kaplan's real-life examples of success from law firms are obviously relatable, particularly in an industry that is only recently becoming more comfortable with the concepts of digital marketing. Kaplan provides professionals with a wide ranging number of individual concepts that are useful to both those beginning
their digital education, such as the students he references in the chapter "Students Have Everything to Gain from the White Collar Hustle" to the more seasoned tech-savvy professional who is seeking new and innovative ways to expand their network and ultimately their book of business.
Many professionals, especially older ones, may feel intimidated by social media, a mentality which is inevitably detrimental to business as this world is increasingly more dependant on social media and marketing. Ari teaches professionals how to effectively and authentically connect with their audiences and create long-standing relationships through sincere communication.
Ari sprinkles personal anecdotes throughout the book, rendering it not only an informative read, but also an extremely engaging one. Through scores of interviews with impressive leaders from a variety of fields, Ari provides the reader with countless examples of how professionals can use digital tools available at their disposal to not only increase their online presence, but also their overall marketability. Reinventing Professional Services is a must-read for any professional serious about standing out in today's ever-changing technological world.
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employees to be more successful, Ari Kaplan's book is a must...Read more