Distinguish your practice from the competition

If you go to a food market with a yen to eat mango and only one stall has mango, it’s a no-brainer where you will buy.

If ten stalls have mango you have a buying decision to make. You may shop at your personal favourite stall, the stall with the lowest price, the stall that has the best looking fruit or the stall recommended to you by a friend. From the stall holders’ perspective there are limited options to affect your buying decision.

In the opening remarks to this article, the sole provider of mangoes is likely to get your business.

This rather over-simplification illustrates why it is important to distinguish your practice from your local competitors.

Who are your competitors and what do they offer?

To consider these issues you need to know what your competitors are offering and compare this with your range of services. This is an exercise that can pay dividends and the easiest way to achieve insights is to visit your competitors’ websites.

Returning to the opening remarks of this post, every accountant offers accounts and tax return preparation, but what “mangoes” do you have in your service offerings that would distinguish you from your competitors, and are you promoting these services on your website? Or featuring them on social media?

Obviously, if a competitor is as rigorous as you are, and they are looking at your website from time to time, they will look to close this competitive edge. However, how many firms do you know who check out competitors in this way?

Promoting that you have “mangoes” on offer

There is no point in being coy; if you have unique services promote them.

For example, the fruit retailer could make a list of produce that only they – or very few – stalls offer. With this insight they could print a short flyer and drop this into every carrier bag. Or have a section of the stall that proclaims “You can only buy these here”.

This raises a key point: the low-hanging fruit (no pun intended), the persons (clients) you should be targeting with this information, are your existing clients. If you have something unique to offer then promote this to your clients first. It is easier to sell to individuals with whom you have an existing relationship.

Cross-sell to distinguish your practice

This is by far the most productive way to increase your fee income, impress clients with what it is you can achieve for them and distinguish your practice from the competition. But it is a process, you will need to actively promote services you cannot expect clients to know about these matters by osmosis.

The key is to constantly increase your service offerings

Everyone sells apples – accounts and tax return preparation – very few firms promote specialist services (business fitness programs for example). If you are keen to be seen as the firm to visit for support then you will need to set out your stall accordingly.

Like a few ideas to inspire you?

Take a look at Landmark’s Fee Builder program. Distinguishing you from your competitors is just one of the benefits of this service.

Bob Edwards

Bob has been working with practices across the UK offering novel ways to improve cross-sales and increase new client acquisitions. He is also interested in "step changes" in legislation that offer challenges, and therefore opportunities, for practitioners to provide new recurring and one-off support services to clients.

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