Think about what makes your firm stand out. Quality of service or a long-standing reputation may come to mind. However, there are thousands of law firms and lawyers that do the same work you do. To increase law firm growth, it’s important to hone in on what sets your practice apart in the competitive legal field.
With a strong value proposition, the clients will be flooding in.
What exactly is a “value proposition?”
A value proposition is a unique (one of a kind) promise to clients.
It can be implicit or explicit. It’s that one, specific, measurable thing that sets your law firm apart. It’s a persuasive, results-driven argument that gives clients a compelling reason to work exclusively with your firm.
A strong value proposition is carefully crafted and very compelling. It’s comprised of four specific ingredients from your client’s perspective.
- Appeal: This is something I really want
- Exclusivity: I can’t get this from any other law firm anywhere else
- Credibility: I believe you. I believe your firm’s claims
- Clarity: I understand your firm’s claim
Most law firms, when asked, provide clients with a generic set of answers. Almost unanimously, their answers fail each of these four criteria. Ask attorneys the question: “what makes you unique?” and you get generic, wishy-washy answers across the board.
- We’re committed to serving you
- We focus on our clients
- We’re committed to justice
- Our firm is focused on defending our clients against… (blah, blah, blah)
These answers don’t convey value, they conceal value. They’re the generic details clients are quick to speed past.
Double law firm growth with a strong value proposition
It’s a way for clients to quickly (and neatly) assess your firm. To filter and sort through the hundreds or thousands of firms competing for their attention and their dollars. Your value proposition gives clients the ability to answer fundamental questions about your firm, like:
- Who are you?
- What can you do for me?
- Why should I trust you to help me?
- Have you served anyone like me?
True uniqueness, in the form of a strong value proposition, shapes client perceptions. It generates the spark they need to take a chance with your firm. Once they’re in, your performance generates the trust and faith they need to continue working with you.
It creates a moat.
Warren Buffett, the legendary investor, coined the term “economic moat.” He defines an economic moat as the competitive advantage one firm has over its competitors. An economic moat accomplishes two things (1) It enables your firm to dominate the marketplace and (2) It keeps competitors at bay – often indefinitely.
When I use the word “moats,” what do I mean specifically? Let’s take a look.
- Brand moat. Service clients are willing to pay more because they trust your brand or believe in your reputation. Research consistently shows clients are eager to spend more on brands. Think Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
- Secret moat. This typically refers to a process or intellectual property that makes direct competition with your firm difficult. This could be your client lists, a unique approach, a proprietary database, or a unique training methodology. It’s created or developed organically and gives firms a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
- Toll moat. These are firms with exclusive or dominant control of a market or niche. This control means you’re typically the only game in town. Clients must come to you if they want “it.” Google, Comcast, and your internet and utility company are all examples of toll moats.
- Switching moat. This refers to a firm that’s entangled in their client’s business. There are varying degrees of enmeshment. It can be as simple as being indispensable to your clients or as complex as equity stakes and co-ownership. The idea here is simple. Clients can switch at any time, per their agreement, but doing so is far more hassle than it’s worth.
- Price moat. You’re able to compete via a significant price (low or high) advantage. You’re able to provide clients with a price they’re unlikely to get anywhere else.
- Performance moat. With this moat, you’re able to produce results or outcomes your competitors can’t, and you’re able to do it consistently. You bring your experience, expertise, and knowledge to bear in a way that’s difficult for other competitors to match.
What kind of value proposition do you actually need? To maximize value and increase law firm growth, you need to create impact at two specific levels:
- The firm level: You need to give clients a specific yet compelling reason to work with your law firm. As I mentioned previously, your value proposition is a promise. You’ll need to provide clients with a compelling reason to work with your firm.
- The service level: Your firm may be amazing, but what about your associates? Do they produce great work? How do clients know, in quantifiable terms, what they’re getting? A value proposition at the service level answers this question decisively.
Your value proposition, at its core, is simply providing what others can’t or won’t do.
- Developing a unique service process (e.g., hiring all-star associates, litigating, drafting documents, etc.)
- Making a compelling promise, one you’re legally able to make
- Creating a strong, trustworthy brand via consistent advertising, a powerful review profile, and branding
- Creating helpful software, sharing it with clients free of charge
- Offering add-on services, tools, and resources to create the “golden handcuffs“
- Creating innovative-yet-legal alternative fee arrangements (e.g., fixed fee, subscription, or insurance models)
However, seeing is not the same thing as doing. How do you go about creating a compelling value proposition for your law firm? If you’re like most people, you have no idea where to start. Most attorneys spend their time focused on the wrong detail. Most spend their time digging through their past to find that one special thing that makes them unique, but they’re all afraid they’ll never find it.
Because a strong value proposition doesn’t come from our past, it comes from our future.
Choose the one thing you’d like your virtual law firm to be known for. Whatever you stand for, make sure it’s one thing – not two or three or four.
Make sure that the one thing you choose:
- Is something in the future you’d like your firm to be known for.
- Fits the four criteria I mentioned above (e.g., appeal, exclusivity, credibility, clarity)
- Is something your competitors can’t or won’t do
This will take time.
Once you’ve come up with a strong value proposition, test it. There are a variety of methods you can use to test the strength of your value proposition. Here’s one way to generate actionable feedback.
- Create Google Ads with your top five ideas
- Target a relevant practice area or client type (e.g., real estate investors, new business owners)
- Monitor which ads attract more attention than the others
- Send clicks to a specific landing page where you ask clients about your value proposition
Here’s the amazing part. You can create these ads for free using Google Ads vouchers.
You’ll need a statistically significant sample to generate meaningful results. Once you’ve identified a winner, weave it into your marketing. Tell prospective clients about it on your website, social media profiles, advertising, review profiles, etc.
Share it everywhere.
Treat it like (protected) intellectual property. Then, combine your strong value proposition with an irresistible offer to increase law firm growth.
What’s an irresistible offer?
An irresistible offer reduces risk. It is a powerful motivator that gives clients the impetus they need to overcome the fear, uncertainty, skepticism, and rejection your prospective clients are likely to experience.
Your offer can be temporary or permanent, small or large, tangible or intangible. Your offer can be specific to a practice area or something available to all prospective clients.
You can do that in a variety of ways, including:
- A compelling promise
- Bundled opt-ins
- Contests and sweepstakes
- Exclusive offers (i.e., get our free product)
- Free consultation offers
- Prestige and/or social proof
- Urgency triggers
- Vanishing offers
You’ll need to play with these until you come up with an offer that’s attractive and compelling to prospects. To increase law firm growth, make sure to consider other factors like practice areas, industry and social norms, and the social class of your target audience.
Daniel Muessig for example. He graduated as a new attorney and needed a way to quickly establish his criminal law practice quickly, but he was relatively unknown and had very few connections. Having no budget the time to advertise aggressively, he used this formula:
Controversy + a strong value proposition + an irresistible offer = A viral ad
Controversial for sure.
Here’s another example.
Attorney Howard Greenberg, an eccentric criminal defense attorney, is referred to as “The Real Saul Goodman from ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Better Call Saul’?” He got Vice to do a cover story on his firm, which generated a significant amount of press.
Take a look.
These attorneys used controversy, a strong value proposition, and an irresistible offer to generate a tidal wave of attention and press. However, you don’t have to use controversy to increase growth. You can use prestige, mystery, passion — anything you choose to generate interest.
Just make sure you have a strong value proposition and an irresistible offer.
Now test your idea using the steps I mentioned above. Do this until you find a winner that can then be incorporated in your SEO and marketing strategies.
Use these strategies to increase law firm growth
Create content that provides clients with an introductory solution to their problems. Follow these steps, and you’ll find you have a waiting list filled with eager, excited clients that will increase law firm growth.
Your strong value proposition is the key to rapid growth. Use it to help clients quickly (and neatly) assess your firm. Show them how to filter and sort through the hundreds or thousands of firms competing for your client’s attention and dollars.
A compelling value proposition generates intense desire; It motivates your clients to do whatever it takes to secure your help. Create the right value proposition you’ll find clients approach you with reverence — the kind of response clients should have to your firm.