Practice Differentiation: Recognized Expertise
In the struggle to grow your practice, a vital key to success is differentiating it from competing advisors in a way that appeals to your ideal client because they understand how it benefits them.
As advisors to business owners, there is a lot of competition. There are approximately 1.3 million attorneys, 750,000 financial advisors and key staff, and over 600,000 CPAs in the U.S.
As we discussed in a prior post, being licensed in one of these professions and promising outstanding service are not practice differentiators. Your clients and potential clients all expect a high level of service. Timely, reasonably priced representation is not a differentiator; your competitors, whether accurately or not, can all claim the same.
From a wealth of research and our practical experience, we know that owners look for two factors when hiring professional advisors:
1. Expertise: Owners hire advisors who are experts in a specialty or service that is valuable to them. Expertise in Exit Planning requires knowledge, training, and experience.
2. Recognition: Owners and the advisors who represent them are aware of your specialized skills and experience.
What’s special about a specialty?
In this context, “specialty” means more than being just a lawyer, CPA, or financial advisor. It means having an area of expertise within a profession—especially if that expertise is not common.
For example, being an estate planning attorney is a specialty, but there are over 200,000 estate planning attorneys in the U.S. How many are experts? Perhaps tens of thousands are highly experienced experts. Of these, how many are well-known in their communities—even nationally—as experts whose practices are focused on solving the needs and concerns of their (usually affluent) target clients?
The clients BEI Members target are successful business owners who seek to grow and successfully exit their companies. Members have differentiated their practices by becoming experts through our Exit Planning programs and by gaining recognition in their communities as experts using BEI’s tools designed for that purpose.
Perhaps the most effective practice differentiator is being a recognized expert in providing a service or product (a specialty), such as Exit Planning, that is vital to the well-being of owners and their companies. Being a recognized expert in your specialty is a very powerful competitive advantage. And not just for you, but for your entire firm.
How do you differentiate your practice via Exit Planning?
Becoming a true expert in Exit Planning is the first step to differentiating your practice. We offer support and training in the Exit Planning process and in using the tools needed to attract, engage, design, and implement Exit Plans for successful owners. We can help you take this first step.
The second step is equally important: Being recognized for your expertise in your target market, i.e., your ideal clients and the professionals in your community who work with them.
The marketing and educational tools our Members use to create awareness among the owner and advisor community of their Exit Planning expertise include:
- Collaboration, Networking, & Social Media
As you work with business owners on their Exit Plans, you’ll likely need to recruit several advisors for your Advisor Team. Being able to share with other advisors the importance of Exit Planning and the dependence on their role on the team can establish credibility. Building the team and collaborating together for the benefit of the same understood goals of the business owner assures your colleagues, and your clients, that your expertise is unmatched.
Networking with other professionals also opens the door to referrals and continued relationships with other recognized experts. Another way to leverage a network is to really have a presence on social media. Whether it’s sharing links to articles and newsletters (mentioned below), reposting articles on specific topics, or connecting with other professionals, social media is a great way to establish recognition in today’s modern business landscape.
- Branded Marketing Materials
Creating and sharing content to educate your clients and prospects is one way to position yourself as a thought leader on the topic of Exit Planning. BEI provides templates for various types of marketing activities such as presentations, scripts, printed materials and more that can all be customized to establish further credibility.
- Automated Newsletter
Taking branded content one step further, many BEI Members take advantage of the automated newsletter system. This quick-read, twice-monthly newsletter shares information about a particular aspect of Exit Planning with your distribution list. This tool has proven to be one of the best-proven ways to stay in front of your clients without inundating them with too much information.
The Bottom Line
It’s worth repeating that the best way to differentiate your practice is to become a recognized expert. The best way to attract and engage successful owners is to become a recognized expert in helping owners exit their businesses on their terms. After all, planning for their eventual exit is one of the most important decisions of their personal and professional life.
To learn more about what decisions and factors are impacting how owners are planning for their futures, download a copy of the BEI 2022 Business Owner Survey!