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Focus on benefits when communicating with prospective clients

blankMarketers like to talk about positioning, unique selling propositions and differentiation. Differentiate or die! is a common refrain heard among marketing gurus young and old.

Given the sheer number of firms competing within the same geographic areas, attorneys certainly face a challenge when attempting to set themselves apart from their competition. The reality of the legal profession is that it is not possible for firms to offer a service that is completely distinct from that of other firms. One family law attorney will handle divorces within the same legal framework and constraints as all others, and this holds true for other practice areas as well. You can find a niche market, offer a unique billing structure or have specific areas of specialized experience, but at the end of the day, the law is the law.

In addition, research has shown that people do not see a lot of actual distinction between the products and services they purchase. Decisions are based on many factors, and the most "unique" service provider does not always win. Given these realities, how can your firm best speak to prospects in a way that generates more leads?

Understand the needs of your clients. Clients are self-absorbed. When searching for legal services, they are often struggling with a difficult situation and are under varying levels of pressure and stress. They also know that they are going to have to make a financial investment and want to get the maximum return. Their only concern is their problem and how it is affecting them or their loved ones.

Because of this, it is important that all marketing and client outreach be focused on the client. People should know within a short time of coming into contact with your firm how you can address their needs. Since many people will visit your website before they visit your office, the answer to this question must be obvious. Do not make them search through legal speak to find it. When considering how to communicate with prospects, think of the ways people are helped by your services and analyze whether your materials make this clear. Anticipate prospective clients' questions and try to answer them proactively.

Focus on benefits. There is a difference between features and benefits. While attorneys are not commodities, this distinction still exists. Features are thing like how long your firm has existed, where you studied law, how much experience you have in specific practice areas, how many attorneys work at your firm and so on. These features provide benefits, and that is what the client really cares about. A feature of your law firm may be a partner who is a Certified Elder Law Attorney. A benefit is the relief and peace of mind clients will feel knowing they (or their parents) will be well cared for throughout their lifetime. Make sure benefits are emphasized in all contacts with prospective clients.

Be memorable. Being memorable involves creating a "distinction" more than it does a "differentiation." Firms can distinguish themselves in many ways. Brainstorm on the things your firm offers that others in your area do not. This is where specialized experience, niche services and other things, like relationships with outside local service providers, do come into play. All firms are going to promise things like "fighting for rights" or "protecting victims." These are not distinct promises. Clients generally assume you are going to try to win their case or come up with the best possible solution for the issue at hand. Speak to their needs in a way that matters.

Well-designed marketing materials, a frequently updated website, viral content, participation on appropriate social media sites and good client service are all key to creating a memorable presence within your market. No one thing can do it alone. Your firm's brand is the totality of the experience clients and prospects have with your firm. When you speak to their needs and offer memorable benefits, you are more likely to see an increase in calls and leads.