By Elizabeth Ferris
One of the most important strategies to grow your practice is to master how you communicate the value of your services to potential clients. Creating a core message is the foundation for all marketing and communication activities and is essential to growing a family law practice.
Why have a core message?
A core message sets you apart from other professionals and communicates the value of what you do and who your services are directed towards. It is how you attract desirable clients to your practice. Having a strong core message means you are able to clearly articulate what you do so anybody hearing or seeing your message will understand what you do and how it relates to their specific goal or problem.
Your message should be clear, concise, and effectively communicate to prospective clients:
• How you differentiate your practice
• The value you provide clients
Differentiate your practice
By communicating what is unique about your practice, you convey what separates you from other professionals. You are also communicating your area of focus and will attract those clients who are interested in what you do best.
Communicate the value you provide clients
Your goal is to clearly communicate the value you provide clients. The first question prospective clients will ask themselves about your service is “What’s in it for me?” (WIFM). By answering the WIFM question you are in a better position to attract clients who place a high emphasis on the value of your service.
Creating your core message
The first step in defining your core message is to answer the following questions:
• Who are the clients I want to attract to my practice?
• How do I differentiate my practice?
• What is the value targeted clients receive as a result of my expertise (what problem do I solve or solutions do I provide)?
By answering the above questions, you are translating your experiences, competencies and service description into a valued outcome for your client.
Description Based core message
Many lawyers and collaborative law professionals describe what they do based on a roster of their services or a list of their features and credentials. For example, the following message is a familiar description for family lawyers:
“We are a group of knowledgeable, dedicated professionals engaged in the practice of family law.”
The emphasis is on a description of the service (practice of family law) versus any beneficial outcome to the client. The client or referral source has to work hard to translate what this means to them. The client also has no idea if this firm is a good fit for their needs because the message does not differentiate this family law firm from any other family law group.
Value based core message
Compare this response to a family lawyer I consulted with to create a core message:
“I help high net-worth divorcing clients find solutions.”
Through the process of creating his core message, the family lawyer internalized who his best client were, how he differentiated himself and the value of his service.
The result has been an increase in referrals from desirable clients. He is receiving web site referrals from clients who want what he does best. A few weeks ago, he was at a networking event and conveyed what he did to a group of business professionals. One gentleman was listening and heard his unique way of helping divorcing clients and immediately asked for his card. The gentleman said, “I am in the process of getting a divorce and have talked to three lawyers who all said the same thing, you are the first lawyer who mentioned the word “solutions.” A few days later, the gentleman retained him as his lawyer.
The success this family lawyer experienced with his core message came from his ability to differentiate his practice and to convey the value of his services. He also had increased confidence about his message which allowed him to focus on the needs and goals of the potential client instead of trying to “sell” his services.
Before you embark on your plan for growing your practice, take time to create a core message that speaks to the unique value of your practice and the clients you serve. As you convey your message through verbal or written communications, engage the client or referral source by speaking to the value you provide or the problems you solve.
Do not try to convey an “all things to all people” message. The more targeted your message the more you will attract clients who fit the profile of your ideal target client. These are the clients who provide you with the greatest sense of satisfaction, send you referrals and are the most profitable because they place a high value on what you do best.
|Elizabeth Ferris helps law firms and businesses to attract profitable clients. She conducts workshops for law firms, on strategies for building a law practice. She also facilitates retreats and workshops for law firms, financial groups and businesses on strategic planning, including creating a firm wide branding campaign. Please contact Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.|
© 2008 Elizabeth Ferris, All rights reserved. You are free to use material in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify me where the material will appear.