The Internet is full of lawyers trying to grab the attention of clients. It’s difficult for even the savviest consumers to tell one firm from another. The best way to get more clients to choose you is to distinguish your firm from the others, emphasizing the points that will appeal to the clients you want to attract.
Think about what your firm offers that others do not. What values do you and your employees find worthy of your support? Why should a client hire you instead of your competition? Your target clients are wondering about the answers to these questions, so be prepared to deliver an argument on why they should select you over your colleagues.
In previous posts in this series, we identified your ideal client and niche and performed a SWOT Analysis. The work you did in the previous posts will help you define your unique competitive advantage. In your SWOT Analysis, you figured out your strengths and weaknesses. Take a look at the strengths and consider how you can emphasize those points when advertising and in all of your interactions with clients — not just any clients, but the ideal client you envisioned in Step 1.
Step 3: Competitive Advantage
Your competitive advantage is the story of your best firm.
A unique competitive advantage is similar to a unique selling proposition. It answers two questions:
- Why a client should hire you instead of someone else.
- How you are uniquely poised to meet a client’s needs.
Surely, you have areas of specialty that make you exceptionally qualified and where your experience is deep. Show clients how you resolve issues more efficiently or better than anyone else based on this experience.
Don’t Get Mired in the Obvious
One tripping point for companies in developing a unique competitive advantage is focusing on all of the things they do, rather than focusing on what they excel at. You are looking for things that make you stand out, not blend in. It’s not enough to meet the status quo. You need to find ways that you are head and shoulders above the rest.
Tailor Your Message
Present yourself as an expert in specific areas. People want to hire experts, especially when making important decisions such as representation. Do not worry about pleasing everyone. Defining your competitive advantage is about pleasing your ideal client so that you can earn what you are worth.
Note what your competitors are known for when you begin to shape your competitive advantage. Consider what benefits you can offer clients that other law firms cannot, even if the benefit is a result of something as arbitrary as location. Anything that provides an advantage — location, parking, price, quality of offices — should be considered. Notable cases you have tried and famous clients can also be a part of your competitive advantage.
Look At Yourself From All Angles
If you have a hard time seeing yourself as better than average, look at yourself from the viewpoint of one of your satisfied clients. Even if you were just doing your job, estimate the value of your services from the point of view of a client whose life you have changed. Focus on the positive results you produced, and the problems you’ve solved for others.
Consider value rather than price. People can always find services cheaper, but savvier clients know that they get what they pay for, and they are willing to pay more to receive the qualities of service that are important to them. Can you survey your clients about what they enjoy about having you as their lawyer?
The answers could help you get a better perspective on what you do particularly well.
Be a Good Neighbor
One way to build your competitive advantage is to marry your firm to an important cause or issue that you and your colleagues and employees support together. The cause should reflect something that your firm holds dear, such as family issues or education. In step one of this marketing plan series, you envisioned your ideal client. Which causes are most important to that demographic? How can you show your clients that you understand their values through your philanthropic work?
You should also do all that you can to be a good neighbor to the residents and business around your firm. Supporting community efforts such as town clean-ups, little league teams, and art events gives your clients a valuable benefit. By giving you business, they are supporting their own communities. Being community-minded greatly improves the public perception of your business.
Remember that you are a person, not a billboard. You want to find ways to spread the word about your competitive advantage, but you do not want to sound like a traveling salesman. So practice delivering your information, be ready to seize the opportunity to sing your own praises.
The next article in this series will focus on marketing strategies and actual marketing practices you can use to grow your business.
Featured image: “What Makes You Unique?” from Shutterstock.
Read the next post in this series: "5-Step Legal Marketing Plan, Step 4: Marketing Strategies."