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Branding vz Positioning for Accountants & Lawyers

Branding vz Positioning for Accountants & Lawyers

Rob Brown here from the BD Academy with another Business Development Bullet. These are about helping accountants and lawyers to win more business, generate more new clients and sell themselves and their firms better.

Today’s one is about branding vs. positioning, and I got an idea from this for a guy called Paul Shrimpling. Paul sends out Business Bitesize, which is a really great way for accountants to position themselves well with their clients.

Here is the original video:

Branding is the Superficial Sizzle

Branding is the business card, your literature and your website. It’s how good all of that looks and how great your pitch documents look. It’s the sizzle. It’s not really the core offering. It’s not anything substantial.

They say the sizzle sells the steak, and to a degree it does, but people still bite into the steak. It’s got to be tasty, otherwise they’re not going to come back for more.

So the message is, make sure your steak is good, because if you’re focusing on the superficial marketing and promotion, you’re going to bring a long line of potential customers to your shop for something they won’t like.

Good Positioning = Relevant AND Different

You’ve got to get your core offering right, and to do this good positioning is about being relevant.

Good positioning is BD. No not business development, but, better and different. You don’t have to be radically different. Just different enough.

Customer service expert Andy Hanselman calls it 3D Discernibly and Demonstrably Different. Nig words. Essentially it means different in a way you can show and they can see.

While you’re being different, you’ve also got to be relevant, it’s no good offering things that your clients don’t want. It’s no good offering things that not relevant to them. And it’s no good offering things that makes you sound exactly the same as your competition.

Lessons from Persil on Positioning

There’s a quick story about Persil via Paul Shrimpling, which illustrates how they changed the narrative. So you can imagine with washing powder, great big brand like Unilever.

Everything was about staying clean and pristine and white as snow. But they changed the narrative to dirt, and they made it a lifestyle thing.

It was okay to get dirty. It was okay to paint. It was okay to play sports and get muddy. That’s what life’s all about, and Persil, the wash powder, helps you get it all clean afterwards. That changed the game.

Persil have £3 billion in global sales every year. Now that’s spectacular. You can change the narrative and change your story.

Asking Questions to Determine Positioning

Another distinction to make with positioning vz branding is this. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the day to day.

The very short term thinking, “I need to service my clients right now. This phone’s ringing, this email needs answering, this client needs seeing and that networking event are there.”

But can you take a long term view by saying, “Right, my offering is this right now. If I want it to be changed in six to twelve months, I’ve got to start now. I’ve got to start taking baby steps right now.”

And there’s always time to ask a question. What do clients really want? Well, you’ve got to ask them.

Here are some great questions to ask your clients:

  • What is it you really want from an accounting/law firm?
  • What are we doing that’s really working for you?
  • What are we doing that really annoys you?
  • What do our competitors do, as far as you know, that’s any better than us?
  • What would have to happen for you to renew with us another year, to use us again or to recommend us?

There’s always time to ask questions like this. It’s about starting conversations.

Sameness Sucks

There’s a great marketer called Gary Hamel in the US. “Sameness sucks.” Straight to the point, eh?

Today’s action point for you is to go back to what you’re doing and see how much of what you’re doing is the same as your competition.

It’s okay if it’s 80%. It’s perhaps not so bad if it’s 90%, but if it’s 100%, you’re just not differentiating at all. Try and get 5-10% different and you’ve got a chance.

That’s it. Have a great BD day.


*** These BD Bullets are bite-sized quick videos for accountants and lawyers to help you win a lot more business and bring in more clients. Each one is posted on LinkedIn and also in this BD Academy Blog. For a full index of all BD Bullets, contact BD Academy Founder Rob Brown here.***