October 23, 2012

What Is Your Competitive Advantage?

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July/August 2006 Issue | Volume 32 Number 5 | Page 17

Law Firm Strategy

By Patrick J. McKenna

Prospects need to know what makes you and your firm special. Every law firm professes that it has years of experience, is responsive and provides exceptional service.

So once we've exhausted the clichés, what's left? It is time to differentiate.

Quantify your advantage. Talk about the total number of clients served, total value of transactions, dollars saved, success rates and clients satisfied. Provide impressive metrics to back up any assertions. An example: "Our lawyers have handled more than X commercial real estate transactions, at a total value of over $Y during the past Z years."

Tout your star qualities. Provide a list of client testimonials. Prospects feel more secure with a firm that is widely acknowledged by their peers.

Identify an attribute that isn't claimed by a competitor. Let's say you serve a large number of women entrepreneurs. Even if your competitor does the same, claim it first and claim it loudly. You are thus likely to preempt your competitor's ever taking similar action because firms hate looking like copycats.

Develop a proprietary solution. Make a list of your added-value methodologies, approaches, actions and the technology answers that serve to make your clients' jobs (or lives) easier and more profitable.

Your goal is to come up with a hard list of advantages to answer the prospect who asks, "Why should I choose your firm, what makes you distinctive, and what specifically do you offer that I cannot get anywhere else?" And don't kid yourself—even if they're not directly asking this question, they're definitely thinking it.