Practice Differentiation: A Distinctive Process or Representation Model
Does your practice differ from others in your profession in a meaningful way?
When we ask advisors that question, here are a few common responses:
- We provide outstanding service and follow-up!
- We offer free initial consultations!
- We promise a customer-centric approach!
- We promise “Timeliness, Quality, Support! –an example of one CPA firm’s promise.
In a previous post, we argued—with support from several experts in professional services marketing—that none of these is a unique process or even marginally different from most other advisors’ representation models.
So, the real question is: How do you develop a distinctive process or representation model that provides more value for your clients and prospects?
Unless you adopt a unique process or representation model that is at least identifiably different from others to set your practice process or model apart, you end up competing on price alone. Other like-minded advisors offer the same profession-specific process, advice, and products that you do.
Of course, your distinctive process or representation model must tie-in to your core practice. For example, a distinctive process or representation model for a CPA could be specializing in a niche industry such as forestry companies. A financial advisor’s differentiating process or model might be specializing on alternative investments for high-net-worth individuals. Both specialized advisors also provide the typical services and products offered by their fellow professionals.
If differentiation were easy, everyone would be doing it!
Frankly, it’s a challenge to offer prospective and existing clients something that is valuable to them and that their competition does not also offer. If such a process or representation model existed, would you at least investigate it?
Is Exit Planning a differentiator?
An increasing number of professional advisors are beginning to talk to their business owner-clients about business Exit Planning, so the term has become a bit of a buzzword. Few advisors, however, can do more than talk about Exit Planning.
They can’t offer exit advice beyond the solutions provided by their profession. They don’t have a distinctive design process that produces an Exit Plan. They don’t use a representation model based on achieving the owner’s successful exit. Instead, they do what they have always done: offer clients the same products and services as their professional colleagues.
Talk is cheap
Creating Exit Plans requires a distinctive process and a unique representation model. Professionals such as financial advisors, CPAs, and others who have the training and tools to engage in Exit Planning with successful owners stand apart from their competition. They are different. They provide an invaluable service to successful owners interested in exiting. It’s a service and process that few of their competitors can offer.
Spreading the word
There is little benefit to having a unique process or representation model if few owners and advisors know about it. BEI-trained Exit Planning Advisors use a wealth of BEI created but advisor-branded newsletters, assessments, white papers, PowerPoint presentations, webinars, books, face-to-face meeting agendas, and more to tell owners in their communities that they offer a service—Exit Planning—that is valuable to them.
Every tool highlights the advisor’s skill in doing something that other advisors in their profession do not: helping owners exit on their terms.
The value of Exit Planning to owners
At some point in every owner’s career, exiting their company successfully will be their most important (and sometimes urgent) concern. When that happens, will they know that you are the advisor in their community who can help them? Can they be certain you will assist them in developing an exit strategy that meets their goals?
The next step is yours
You can acquire the knowledge, the tools, and the support you need to become an Exit Planning Advisor and set your practice apart. You can be the one advisor who is equipped to address the business exit concerns of the owners’ you represent and those you could represent. Click here to learn more.
Our next blog describes another differentiation strategy: focusing your practice on a particular target clientele.