Standing out from the crowd may be easier than you think
During recent meetings, I have encouraged the practitioners I’m coaching to define their ideal client in considerable detail. Challenging as this might have been for some, it leads to an even more thought provoking line of inquiry – why such clients should choose to use their firm.
Is it enough to be earnest and sincere?
When this question is first considered, many practitioners express confidence in their rapport-building skills and ability to uncover opportunities during general discussion. They also rattle off their experience, expertise, approachability and responsiveness. It’s no coincidence that many of these factors are readily found on their websites.
It comes as quite a shock then to find that these reasons alone may not be enough to win clients over.
What would a worthy competitor say?
The critical element to introduce into this deliberation is a worthy competitor – a firm with similar attributes and an equal desire to create a great first impression on the same prospective client. The test to be applied here is whether that competitor would lay claim to the same reasons you have on your list. This usually takes out 95 per cent of the wind from practitioners’ sails, throwing the value of their website content into question during the process. The challenge here is to identify compelling reasons that you can truly call your own.
What do you do which is unique?
It’s helpful here to involve a third party who can coax out more detail about what the firm actually does for its clients. This helps to overcome the curse of assumption – Doesn’t everyone do this? -to which I often say, “No, you have something pretty special there. Let’s tell clients about it.”
An equally important consideration is how you could develop a philosophy, unique approach or formalise your processes to set you apart. The key here is thorough documentation. Whether it by strategy paper, flow chart, checklist or slideshow your mission here is to capture anything which is currently performed ad hoc and turn it into the firm’s special recipe. Capping this with a unique name will make your secret sauce more memorable. This is readily accomplished by inserting specifics such as a thought-provoking title, accompanying diagram, the precise number of steps in your procedure and/or the ® symbol.
It’s remarkable how transforming this discovery process can be. Certainly, your marketing will become much more compelling with genuine points of difference. Formalising your processes will also help you to deliver greater value. Both of these are great attributes when persuading your prospective clients that your firm is indeed the one for them
Scott Charlton is a director of Slipstream Coaching, a company dedicated to assisting financial practitioners achieve their potential. A long term business coach to both accountants and financial planners, Scott is also the author of three books regarding professionals in practice. Scott can be contacted by phone 0409 870 330 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org