I don’t mean to brag, but my town’s fire department has an exceptional logo:
Two axes, a ladder, and what appears to be a snake climbing a stripper pole (see photo below).
It’s so wonderful in fact, that I have decided to give all my fire safety-related business to them.
In the unfortunate event of a fire in my home – any time of day, any day of the year – I will seek help from the Upton, Massachusetts Fire Department and nobody else.
Now, I can’t see you from way over here, but I’m guessing that at this moment you are scratching your head, wondering what on Earth I am talking about.
After all, wherever you live, the fire department is the one and only fire department. There’s no choice to be made by consumers. It is what it is.
Further, and as if they needed any additional help monopolizing all smoke-related business in town, the fire department is only called upon when there is an immediate, urgent need.
Taken together – no other options, no time to shop around even if there were any – and the fire department has demand sewn up.
The truth is, if they were in business to make money, they would be … if I may … on fire.
Think about it.
Firefighting demand is so high that most of us don’t know or care who works there, how they were trained, how long they’ve been on the job or, frankly, how good they are relative to neighboring towns. They don’t advertise because they don’t have to.
You and I, on the other hand, are not so fortunate.
We lie somewhere on the demand continuum between the fire department at one extreme and “nobody wants what you’re selling at any price” at the other.
Where you happen to be along that continuum matters. A lot.
Look for Demand First
I’ve been offering email newsletters as part of what I do for twenty years.
In 2001, demand was low: “Not enough of our clients have email addresses to make it worthwhile.”
In 2006, I couldn’t pick up the phone fast enough.
In 2012, “email was dead.”
In 2020, with privacy concerns high and the ROI of social media suspect, guess what’s back in town.
Throughout it all, the variation in my email newsletter workload has not been a function of anything I’ve done. It’s all been about demand for the thing itself.
When it’s high I sell a lot. When it’s low I don’t.
Here’s the bottom line.
The most important factor, bar none, in determining your success as a small professional service provider, is demand.
It’s not your credentials, or your experience, or your relationships, or even your capability. Those things matter, of course. But demand matters way more.
So before you bother improving your marketing or selling, make sure you are offering something that people already want.
Absent that, you better have one hell of a nice logo.
- Do you find it odd that they show up to fight fires in a red truck? From a distance, how are spectators supposed to know who’s on which side?
- In what year did you first get an email account?
- How has demand for what you sell changed over time?