Relationships. Trust. Delivery of superb value. These are core ingredients of a successful service firm. Talk to 100 service firm marketers and leaders, and they'll all tell you (and most of them believe it, even if they're wrong) that their firm is at the top of their industry in each of these categories.

Why, then, do service firms typically do such a poor job of bringing relationships, trust, and value into their marketing mixes?

I live in Boston and I read the Boston Business Journal. For better or worse, law firms, accounting firms, consulting firms, and professional services firms of all types are flocking to the print media to improve their "name recognition" and get their message out. Of course, since they all believe that they're at the top of the food chain when it comes to relationships, trust, and value, they all say so in their advertising copy.

The copy usually reads something like this:

For over 143 years, the firm of Flugelhorn, Ocarina, Nyckelharpa and Zither has provided innovative business advisory solutions to the Boston area entrepreneurs and business leaders. Our efficient and effective solutions stem from our deep knowledge of our areas of expertise, our customers' businesses, and our dedication to exceptional customer service.

You don't need services, you need solutions! And not just any solutions, solutions that deliver value. We focus on delivering a unique level of value to our client base. You deserve the best, and we are the best. In today's competitive environment, you can trust FONZ to help you succeed.

Pretty sharp copy, if you ask me. They covered core topics that make them such a great service firm and they communicate it all so well. The FONZ is cool! Right?

Clearly this is bad marketing all around, but it doesn't come from a bad place. It's just weak execution of good intent.

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image of Mike Schultz

Mike Schultz is president of RAIN Group, a global sales training and performance improvement company, and director of the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research. He is the bestselling author of Rainmaking Conversations and Insight Selling. He also writes for the RAIN Selling Blog.

LinkedIn: Mike Schultz

Twitter: @mike_schultz