In today’s saturated legal market, what sets your firm apart from the competition? Why should people come to you rather than one of the other hundred firms that practice in the same area as you? What keeps your clients coming back to you rather than going somewhere new?
These are questions that a good value proposition will answer.
What is a Value Proposition?
Simply put, your value proposition is an expression of the value that your firm brings to clients. A good value proposition should tell clients:
- what specific benefits your firm brings to them; and
- what your firm offers to them that the competition does not.
Notice that these points are focused on clients, not on you. Of course you want to tell clients about your firm and the lawyers within it, but this information will mean very little unless you make clients aware of how this information benefits them.
Explain what Specific Benefits your Firm Brings to Potential Clients
It is not enough to throw facts at clients without letting them know how these facts relate to their issue or benefit their situation. For example, it may be interesting to a potential client to read, “We are the largest intellectual property firm in Canada.” However, this fact will mean little to them unless you tell them how it benefits them. This information will have far more impact if you say something along the lines of:
As the largest intellectual property firm, we have considerable resources to draw upon to ensure that your intellectual property rights are strongly protected. With offices located in all six Canadian time zones, we are available during your office hours, whatever they may be.
Explain how you are Different from the Competition
Law firms differ from other businesses in that the Rules of Professional Conduct limit how they can promote themselves. Lawyers are not supposed to suggest that they are superior to other lawyers or to disparage or demean other persons, groups, organizations or institutions. Therefore, you cannot claim that your criminal defence firm secures 25% more acquittals than that other criminal law firm down the street. However, it is useful to identify what you do differently from other firms and emphasize those factors on your website and in your advertising.
For example, a small criminal defence firm consisting of experienced lawyers could differentiate itself based on the attention its lawyers provide to all of its clients, even those charged with lesser offences. This firm’s value proposition may go something like this:
At Smith and Jones LLP, we realize that a conviction for even a “minor” offence can have a major impact on an individual’s life. That is why our clients, even those charged with “minor” offences, are never passed along to articling students or junior associates. Each of our clients receives skilled legal advice and representation by a lawyer with at least 10 years of experience in criminal defence, regardless of the type of charge he or she is facing.
Why do I need a Value Proposition?
Knowing your value proposition is useful in many ways. Firstly, if you and the other lawyers in your firm have a clear understanding of what makes your firm special, you will be able to communicate this message more effectively to potential clients and possible referral sources. Think of it as your elevator pitch.
Secondly, your value proposition is the foundation upon which your marketing activities are built. Once you have identified the message you want to communicate, it is much easier to determine the most appropriate way to convey this message to potential clients.
Last but not least, your value proposition forms an integral part of your firm’s overall brand, which creates positive associations with your firm in the minds of potential clients and makes your firm stand out from the competition.
At Umbrella Legal Marketing we routinely help our clients develop, articulate and market their firm’s unique value proposition. Let us help you discover how and why your firm is distinctive and communicate this message effectively to potential clients.