If you want to develop your mediation services, it may be useful to have an informal SWOT analysis on your status as a professional. The points below are just a few pointers on what other mediators have found useful in their professional career.
- Have a list of 12 contacts to improve your working relationship with:Have a list of business owners and managers you have met but have not had the opportunity to talk to in depth. This can extend to owners of mediation related blogs you follow or even contacts you met on your mediation training. Have a standing appointment to meet for coffee with these people once a month. You can even ask mutual connections on LinkedIn to introduce you as a preliminary step if they are prospective contacts. Make sure you follow up on prospective contacts and consider volunteering on mediation panels to gain more exposure
- Have an effective LinkedIn profile:Make a firm decision to improve your online presence and be realistic about how much time you can commit to. Update your photo; add more details about your skills and areas of expertise. It is also helpful to have a colleague recommend you for an additional profile boost. Internal mediators can also use intranets to spread awareness of mediation schemes and promote the option of using mediation by having an internal page on mediation for example.
- Get re-educated and re-examine your target niche:Remember prospective customers perceive mediators to be industry experts in their field thus make sure you are up to date with current issues affecting clients in their respective businesses. It is always useful to follow upcoming areas you can extend your services to. Avoid being vague about your services for example, using "Mediation" and "Conflict management" interchangeably may confuse clients.Also, entrepreneurial videos can be a great source of motivation and creative inspiration,TED talks are a good example. Mediation training providers also tend to have an abundance of online tutorials or resources which you can bookmark.
- Attend social events with other mediators:In such a niche and competitive market it is vital that you network strategically. As the cliché goes; keep your friends close but your enemies closer. If you know what other professionals are offering you are in a better position to define your target niche and services. Networking can open opportunities to collaborate on mutually beneficial projects.
- Increase your Social Media interaction & presence:Having a social media strategy based on your flexibility does not cause any harm, you can use apps like Socialbro & Hootsuite to find out the best time to tweet and schedule your tweets. Tailor your services to organisations on Twitter do not be ashamed to be proactive; it can be a cost effective marketing tool. Also remember, Social media is a two way experience, the key is to have a voice and make your voice heard (although not too loudly.) Organise your ideas into a social media calendar that relates to the themes in your blog.
- Join an association: Organizations like Chambers of Commerce can open doors and help expand your contacts. If you volunteer for such organisations by delivering free talks on mediation and how it works you will build trust in your services. You may also gain access to influential contacts who can direct you to staff members who choose mediators for disputes.