If you pick 10 professional services firms at random and go to the “about us” section of their websites odds are you will find at least one of the following phrases:
“we offer the personal touch”
“we are the largest provider of X services”
“reputation for excellence”
“new ways of thinking”
You will also be able to play a hearty round of buzzword bingo – innovative, different, specialist, successful etc… Now I am not for one minute doubting that all these firms are just as good as they say they are. To survive in professional services, you have to be good and you have to deliver results on a daily basis! What I am saying is that it’s very hard to differentiate between them – if you take away all the corporate branding it would be impossible to guess which firm is which. So how can you differentiate your firm?
The answer is to look within. Within your firm you have lots of experts – people that have spent years acquiring knowledge and more importantly learning how to apply it, each one has their own particular niche and in my opinion, these are your differentiators!
In a previous blog post, I wrote about the importance of being a visible expert and how it can benefit the individual, but it’s just as beneficial to be a firm of visible experts! If your firm has a partner that is being regularly approached by the press for comment, or asked to speak at events, you will stand head and shoulders above the firm that doesn’t, no matter how fabulous their website looks or how many times they say they are the best in the sector.
Get some content
The first – and probably the most difficult – step is to get your experts to demonstrate their knowledge, at the start it doesn’t need to be a firm wide initiative. The key is to approach the partner whose door is a little bit open. The partner who has shown a bit of interest in marketing or a flair for writing. You could get them to do a short video or book five minutes of their time to ask their opinion on an issue that is in the news, you could even send them a link to a news story they can comment on for you.
Once you have that first bit of content you need to leverage it! Tweet it, share it to relevant groups on Linkedin, add it to your newsletter and put it front and centre on the website.
We all love feedback, even if it’s a retweet from a friend it still feels good! If you can go back to the partner at the end of the week and tell them lots of people have retweeted or shared their content, it’s likely that they will be more willing the next time you knock on their door.