USP: Unique selling proposition
How many times have you found yourself in a situation where you have been asked to elucidate your USP and struggled to do so?
You usually fall back on some vague, and imprecise list of … “we have this or that…” but knowing full well that so does everyone else.
Perhaps these are just some of the questions that you have fielded:
“What separates you from your competition?”
“What makes you any different to my current firm?”
“One firm looks like the next.”
“There are too many law firms. Why should I instruct you?”
Be honest, you don’t have a USP – not when you are competing with 20+ law firms. Unless you practice at the cutting edge, your service lines, to any semi-knowing observer, are the same as the next firm.
At this point you might be tempted to pray in aid the Electric Light Orchestra song Roll Over Beethoven. Give up in other words.
But, just for a minute, whilst you are reading this blog, envision a firm where its service is the sine qua non of the firm, and not the provision of legal services. In other words, the best service anywhere in the world is the practice.
As I have blogged about before, the ratio of case work to fee earning militates against providing the highest level of service; or, in David Maister speak, you fail to understand what you have to do to Superplease your clients.
You may think it is open to debate that service is qua USP but not when the perception is otherwise. You only need to look at the regulatory landscape to at least question why all the panoply of close-print text is necessary to protect your clients. Sure there are always going to be rogue elements in any walk of life but surely the number of people employed in the regulatory bodies can’t just be to fetch out the smelly fish?
Service is not just a question of how fast you turn something round – although that helps – it is found across every part of the firm. Service should be wide enough to cover the soft systems, information systems and hard systems. Every aspect of the firm should scream out WE DAMN WELL CARE.
One final point.
Your mindset has to change.
Don’t think what you can get out of the retainer but how much more you GIVE in value than you receive in payment.
A free coffee.
A lunch even.
No you have to go way off territory and start imagining a place that no other firm has yet dared to tread.
USP – easy – service, service, service.
Now that must be shortest elevator pitch you have ever seen.
If you really want to see things change then start making time for change.
Walk the talk.
Don’t keep coming back to the same dialogue month after month.
As Tom Peters says in his video series to accompany the book The Little Big Things: “The calendar never lies.”
If you are not spending meaningful time trying to change things and all you ever talk about is billing, then your USP will forever sound like your nearest and dearest competitor.
USP read Usually [the] Same Proposition.
~ JS ~