I read the above statement in a recent LinkedIn article. It’s more relevant than many professionals realize. The role I take on with many of my clients is that of business coach. Much of what I do involves client perceptions. This article deals with a common issue – “How others view your practice.”
Note: This article appears in the Louisville Bar Association’s Bar Briefs (November Edition, Page 10)
According to the LBA, there were approximately 4,656 licensed attorneys in Jefferson County during the spring of 2016. That equates to only 165 people in our community, per each attorney (Nielsen Company Data, 2016 Jefferson County, KY). It includes adults and children. This is a crowded and competitive market.
Many of us are focused on growing respective businesses. That objective requires that we differentiate ourselves in the minds of our target audiences.
One way to do this is by defining your firm’s benefit statement. Simply put, this explains what you have to offer. All too often, many professionals choose to stop there. A more effective approach is to communicate in terms of the problems (the pain points) you could resolve. To iterate the title of this article, “Sell the problem you solve, not y0ur product.”
Luckily for all of us, our clients remind us of these problems every day. Pull out one of your most recent client intake forms. Look specifically for questions your prospective client asked.
Most likely, those questions stemmed from concerns (even fears) that person wants to resolve.
The more easily people make the connection between their problems and you, the person who can resolve them, the closer you are to landing a new client – which, by the way, may be the problem you’re trying to solve for your own practice.
Here are a few examples:
- Divorce – The divorce is the product. The problem maybe retaining child custody and concerns about the financial ramifications.
- Bankruptcy – Again, bankruptcy is the product. The problem may be pressure, stress or their lack of hope.
- Criminal Defense – For some it’s about what you can do to get the charges dismissed, sometimes, before the arrest goes public.
- Personal injury – It’s not about the settlement (initially), it’s about the disruption of a normal life.
- Residential Real Estate – It’s not the closing. Is the concern about what could delay or derail a new home. [Pro Tip – always refer to it as their “home” not just a house.]
- Business Law – While your litigation skills are important, it’s usually more about how you can ensure your client minimizes the exposure to litigation in the first place.
My advice is not to wait until a prospective client Is sitting in front of you to begin this process.
Over the past 12 years, I’ve had numerous attorneys tell me about the numbers of cases they’ve turned down. The number they hate to ponder however, is the amount of revenue they missed because individuals never considered them as part the solution.
You’ve got to consistently remind people of your firm’s benefits statement. In doing so, speak to them in their world, using terms they recognize and feel.
If you want easy, begin blogging about those problems. Do it weekly; but start. If you want easy and effective, start implementing a video blog. For many practitioners video will have the greatest, long-term benefit. Either way, use your blog posts to create a brand perception about your ability to resolve specific problems.
With 4,656 attorneys in the area, not including those who just passed the recent Bar exam, you can’t just rely on your product. The market may view the product as a commodity…and those are always bought on price. Position yourself as the one who understands their underlying concerns and fears, and you’ve just taken a major step toward competing on value. That’s where your practice should always win.