In this Article:
Professional service firms like to think they’re all unique. But it doesn’t take long in a typical business development conversation to realize their offerings are largely the same as their competitive set.
The accounting firm that provides bookkeeping, tax planning, forecasting and other advisory services. The software shop that has a discovery > design > development > deploy “proprietary process”.
True differentiation is rare in professional services. At least in terms of what you do.
But there’s another way to differentiate. And that’s through your Point of View.
The Benefits of a Strong Point of View
A point of view is more than just an opinion or perspective. It's your firm's stand, its beliefs, its core values, and its guiding star.
It's the "why" behind your every action, strategy, and decision. And it provides a number of benefits.
- It Defines Your Brand: Your point of view shapes your brand's narrative. It tells your story, your beliefs, and your purpose.
- It Builds Authentic Relationships: Clients connect more deeply with firms that share their values and beliefs. By sharing your point of view, you attract clientele that aligns with your vision, leading to lasting partnerships.
- It Differentiates You from the Crowd: While services might be commoditized, values and beliefs aren't. Your point of view making your firm recognizable amidst a sea of competitors.
- It Inspires Trust: Clients seek authenticity. A clear point of view reflects transparency and genuineness, qualities that foster trust.
The Elements of a Compelling Point of View
The framework we use at Madison has four elements:
Who you serve.
This is your ideal client profile. We want to get very specific about who these organizations are and who the key decision makers are within them, so we can ensure our Point of View resonates with the people we seek to serve.
What you believe.
These are your core beliefs. These are the things you believe to be true about the world, and specifically within your domain of expertise, that inform how you do what you do.
Why you exist.
These are your firm's values, the things you hope your company represents to the world. These are some of the most compelling tools in the toolkit, but most firms get values exercises wrong.
How you speak.
This is your tone of voice, your personality. Different firms have different approaches to how they package up their Point of View in terms of tone of voice, and this has an impact on the way their message is perceived by their Ideal Clients.
All of these elements are combined into a single document that we call a manifesto. It's meant to summarize, crystalize, and articulate the Point of View in the most powerful language possible, to galvanize your team and create differentiation in the minds of your customers.
Defining Your Unique Point of View
So how do you articulate this unique perspective?
- Reflect on Your Origins: Why did you start your firm? What gaps did you aim to fill? Your beginnings often hold the essence of your point of view.
- Understand Your Clientele: Dive deep into the aspirations, challenges, and needs of your Ideal Client Profile. This will help shape a point of view that resonates with them.
- Evaluate Your Values: List your core values and principles that guide your firm. Are you driven by innovation, tradition, sustainability, local empowerment? These values are the pillars of your point of view.
- Seek Feedback: Engage with clients and team members. Their insights can offer a fresh perspective and help refine your point of view.
- Communicate Consistently: Once you've defined your point of view, it's crucial to communicate it consistently across all platforms.
A distinctive Point of View is not just a nice-to-have. While competitors can replicate services, they can't replicate your "why".