If you are a member of a small firm, the challenge of figuring out how to position your firm can seem daunting. Think of positioning as how you want your clients to perceive you. Each firm has unique characteristics, however, that can be amplified through your marketing. Go through a process to discover your competitive advantages. Think through what makes your firm different than others. Start with a longer list, then refine based what truly differentiates your firm, and what competitors cannot claim. I suggest selecting no more than three competitive advantages – keep the message to clients simple and concise. Three differentiators also helps you and your staff remember and reinforce these advantages in their interactions with clients. Here are some examples of competitive advantages I’ve helped develop in my work with firms in the Transportation/A/E/C world:
For a small firm in a sea of larger multi-faceted competitors, focus on advantages such as offering high quality, high value services with staff focused on customer service. Clients can reach YOU personally whenever they call……and you deliver what they need.
Be the firm with staff who truly LISTEN to client’s needs. Not just what they say, but delve deeper into the fundamental problem they are trying to solve. And once your staff listen and fully understand client’s needs, they develop practical, actionable solutions. Your firm’s competitive advantage is being the firm that listens and develops practical solutions to client issues.
For firms in very specialized service areas, focus on how your industry experts know their topic better than others, and have worked on complicated solutions to client’s problems. Your competitive advantage is having the foremost experts in your technical area with a wide range of project experience that can be brought to bear on client’s issues.
Once you’ve figured out what differentiates your firm, reinforce your competitive advantages in all of your interactions with clients. Deliver the message in your communications with clients, either in person or online; reinforce in all of your marketing material, social media interactions, conference participation, and web site.