I joined the ProVisors business network in June of 2019. There are many things I love about the group and during the pandemic, it has been a great way to stay connected to a very giving group of professionals. While meeting wonderful people has been the best part, my involvement with ProVisors has also been a great lesson in how to differentiate yourself. In the network, there are many lawyers, accountants, financial planners and other trusted advisors who do similar things. So “choosing your lane” and making yourself memorable is important. Many ProVisors members do that well.
Sometimes I hear great tag lines that describe the expertise that the professionals bring to the table (e.g. Call me when you need to manage your client’s message with a megaphone or a muzzle.- Judy Rakowsky, a public relations professional; Call me when you are in the back of a police car or in the back of an ambulance– Chris Murphy, a lawyer who does criminal defense and plaintiff’s personal injury; I bring death and taxes to life-Jenn Taddeo, a trusts and estates lawyer; When the Feds come knocking, I’ll do the blocking-Jose Sierra, a white collar attorney—who is now in-house.)
I have also met a number of lawyers and other professionals who have found very creative ways to set themselves apart without focusing on their expertise.
For example, Deb Danger is a Trust and Estates lawyer who uses humor to connect with prospective clients. She differentiates herself by communicating that she is fun to work with. If you go to her website, you will see that Deb offers a 5% discount to any client who makes her laugh.
Offering a discount like this not only has the benefit of making clients feeling like they are getting better value, but it also serves as a way to break the ice in addressing subjects that can be uncomfortable for many people.
In addition, Deb has a very creative way to introduce her services to prospective clients when she is giving talks. She has created a board game which she identified to me as Why Wonder When You’re Six Feet Under. It is like the T&E version of an escape room. Players draw cards which raise an array of challenges that can be solved through effective estate planning (e.g. You are on vacation in the Caribbean and a big storm blows the roof off of your house. Do you have documents in place so someone can legally act on your behalf while you are out of the country?)
Another member, Rich Mandel, a personal injury lawyer, makes himself memorable in a number of ways that do relate to his area of expertise. But he also entertains us at ProVisors meetings by using limericks to thank other members for referrals.
There are many ways to market yourself effectively. A more traditional approach (writing or speaking about your area of specialization), can help you position yourself so that referral sources remember you when they hear of a need. But a little creativity can also go a long way in making you stand out from the crowd. Clients and referral sources often don’t have any way to know if you are good at what you do. But they will know if you are someone they think they can trust and someone they might like to work with. That’s an important point if you want to build any professional services practice.
P.S. I was at a meeting this morning with Deb Danger and she rolled out her new tagline “I work with clients who are dead or planning on it!” Who knew planning for your demise could be so much fun!