Thanks to the wealth of information and alternatives available on the Internet, you have about 5 seconds to engage prospective clients. If you don’t succeed, they will continue their search elsewhere.

Yet time and time again, I see firms filling their websites and collateral with generic statements. You’ve read them, too, though they probably didn’t leave much of an impression. Think:

  • Fully versed in all aspects of our field.” That’s why you went to school, right?
  • We work hard for you.” I should hope so, and it’s worth noting that even Avis dropped this type of line after 50 years of use.
  • We promise personal attention and support.” Is there any other?
  • Timely advice, expert guidance and representation.” As opposed to the late, amateur kind?

Clients already are going to assume you have licensed professionals who come into the office every day and do their jobs. They’ll consider it a given that you’ll work hard, respond to their questions and concerns, and give them your most expert advice. Those are assumed qualities, and if you don’t already provide them, your clients won’t be your clients for long.

So what truly will set you apart? How do you stand out in those 5 seconds you have to get their attention? You Distinguish and dismiss.

To distinguish yourself, identify what truly sets you apart from similar firms—what you do that they can’t or won’t do—and put that message at the top of the page and in your headlines. This is where quantitative information is best.

To dismiss, you remind prospects that your differentiators should be a core requirement in their decision-making criteria. Make it easy for them to choose you.

I won’t kid you. Figuring out your true differentiators takes some work. It’s tough to stand back and think about what your prospects want to hear rather than what you’d like to say. To prime your pump, here are a few approaches to consider:

Talk numbers. Think years of experience (though everyone sees that “275 total years” line) or money saved or made for clients.
Remind prospects that you’re a leader in your field, not just a competent practitioner. Include niche experience, certifications, real awards, association leadership credentials, or courses taught.
Bring in clients with other clients. Your percent success rate of cases or settlements offers quantifiable data for the numbers-hungry prospect. Testimonials and success stories pull in the more narratively inclined.

Of course, you’ll need to make sure that your professional and state rules allow for each type of differentiating message.

Also, remember there can be too much of a good thing. I often see true differentiators buried among a laundry list of bulleted services. By searching and visiting your site, your prospects already have a general idea of what you do. They want to quickly learn how you do it better. While lists of three-to-five bullets make ideas easier to digest, a two-column list of 20 bullets overloads the page and overwhelms the reader. Search engines don’t like this either.

Once you engage your prospects, you can continue to educate and share your expertise as they seek more relevant and detailed information. Your differentiating points become part of the decision-making criteria by which everyone will be judged, making it very difficult to compete with you.

Ready to transform your marketing results? PracticeProfs can help highlight what sets you apart from your competitors. Contact us today to get started.

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