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A compelling Point of View incorporates a number of pillars. It includes a deep understanding of your client. It includes a concrete set of values. It has a clear tone of voice. And it has a unique set of first principles or core beliefs that inform your approach.
Your beliefs are distinct from your values (which we talk about here.) Your beliefs are the core assumptions and insights about your industry or domain of expertise that inform how you do what you do.
These beliefs often exist, but are subconscious or taken for granted. By crystallizing these beliefs, a firm not only sharpens its Point of View, but attracts like-minded clients and team members who buy into those beliefs.
In the context of an Authority Marketing campaign, your beliefs effectively “indoctrinate” your potential clients into your way of seeing the world, making the sales process much smoother.
Why Articulate Your Core Beliefs?
Creating a Unique Identity
Your firm’s beliefs are the lens through which you interpret challenges and opportunities. No one has worked on the unique set of engagements you have. So nobody should have the exact same set of lessons or beliefs you have. Your aggregate experience is utterly unique.
Enhancing Authority Marketing
One of the most powerful ways to build authority is not by saying, “this is what you should do”, but rather by saying, “this is what I’ve done.”
It’s powerful because it’s more credible. It’s powerful because it’s humble - it recognizes your beliefs might not be true in all circumstances and settings. And it’s powerful because it’s impossible to argue with - I can debate ideas, but I can’t debate your unique experiences.
As a result it slips through many of our typical defenses when encountering new or challenging ideas, and makes it much more likely to be received well.
Attracting Ideal Clients
Clients don’t always know what they believe. But often they will resonate with a clear unified theory stated powerfully. They “know it when they see it.”
As a result, they become trained in your way of seeing the world. When the time comes to select a firm to help them with services you provide, they’ve subconsciously made you the frontrunner.
How to Discover Your Core Beliefs
To help your firm articulate its core beliefs, consider these questions:
- What do you believe is fundamentally changing in your industry, and why? This can help you uncover shifts in market dynamics, technology, or client expectations that you believe are reshaping your industry.
- What common wisdom in your field do you disagree with? This is one of the more powerful questions, because it immediately attracts attention. To the degree your prospective client agrees with the premise, it positions you as the only firm that can help them.
- What principles from other industries or domains do you believe should be applied to your own? Cross-pollination of ideas can lead to distinctive approaches that differentiate your firm.
- How do you believe value is truly created and delivered in your industry? The way you see how value creation happens in your world can have big implications on what you choose to do (and not do), and can have implications on your service delivery model.
- What do you believe clients should care about most, and do they align with what they currently prioritize?One of the most powerful thing consultants provide is perspective. Clients are always trying to choose between good things and best things. Having a clear perspective on what matters when can be a strong differentiator.
- What future scenarios do you believe are most likely in your industry, and how are you preparing for them?There are macro shifts and future trends that likely keep your clients up at night. By having a perspective on why those things are happening, what they mean, and what to do about them, you provide a comforting and reassuring voice.
- What do the biggest players in your space believe, and why do you disagree? Playing David to their Goliath can sometimes be an effective perspective, especially when the natural conclusion is a solution that only a firm of your size can provide.
- What do we believe about the nature of problems and solutions in our field? What are the key issues that come up over and over again? Consider asking a series of “why” questions to get to a potential root cause of those problems. Demonstrating that you have a perspective on why an endemic problem exists positions you well to provide the solution.
- What has our experience taught us about what works and what doesn't in our industry? Reflect on previous engagements. Ones you’ve done well. Ones that didn’t work. Ones where a previous firm came in to help and you had to clean up the mess. What are the lessons you’ve learned from those engagements?
Making Your Core Beliefs Real
Articulating your firm’s beliefs is not just an intellectual exercise. Your beliefs ideally have implications in terms of how you present yourself to the world and how you engage with clients.
Your brand is the sum of experiences your client has with your firm. It’s valuable to consider how every touchpoint can reinforce your statement of beliefs. Ask yourself, “How do our beliefs influence the way we engage with clients and deliver our services?” And make deliberate decisions about your delivery model in light of the answer.
Your core beliefs are a powerful component of your Point of View. They answer the question of why your engagements are unique relative to your competition, even if the service lines themselves are similar. They inform your methodology. And they create a “reason to believe” in the minds of prospective clients, giving them the rational ammunition to advocate for your approach within their organization.