Tax & Accounting Blog

Do clients know what makes your accounting firm unique?

Accounting Firms, Blog, Business Practices, Business Strategy & Development, Marketing November 16, 2017

What if you could attract the right kind of clients – and keep them coming back? Find out how by following these 10 simple steps to creating your firm’s unique selling point.

A common mistake many small- to medium-sized firms make is trying to be all things to all people. By doing so, they promote a generic offering to cast a wider net. Consequently, a lot of time is spent servicing clients who aren’t necessarily profitable, nor brand advocates for your practice.

But what if recognising and promoting your unique selling proposition (USP) meant attracting the right kind of client – one who keeps coming back because they believe nobody else offers what you provide? Here are 10 steps you can follow to create your firm’s USP.

1. Ask plenty of questions

Ask your current clients, your staff and even your suppliers what you do really well and what you need to improve on. How do you compare in the market? Be as thorough as the participants will allow you to be. Use informal one-on-ones, introduce a short survey at the end of client appointments or distribute an online questionnaire. Document and learn.

2. Identify pain points

Conduct (or read up on) broader research across your industry. Where are the gaps? What is no other competitor offering, or at least not promoting as part of their offer? Hone in on some key findings.

3. Create a list

Knowing what you know now, what distinctive benefits could you offer that could plug some of these gaps? And remember, they must be of benefit to the client, not your business. Your aim here is to delight your core market, not try to please everyone.

4. Identify your target market

This is where you tighten the net. What specific segment of the market could genuinely gain from your unique benefits? Take a look at your existing client base – what do your ‘best’ clients look like? Develop an ideal customer persona – what is their age, occupation, family unit, location, etc? Keep this ideal persona in mind as you move through the next steps.

5. Define your promise

It must be unique, it must be targeted and it must be so compelling that it motivates action. Put as much detail in here as you can.

6. Be confident you can deliver on it

This is extremely important. You can do no greater damage to your business than go to market with a promise and stumble at the first hurdle. You must have the time, resources and technology to deliver.

7. Create a single paragraph

This is a lot harder than you might think. Don’t rush, and make sure you engage all staff – no idea is a bad idea at this stage. Create your first draft, then revisit. Revise. Revisit. Keep doing this until you’re happy.

8. Then a sentence

Once you’re happy, strip it back to a single sentence. Follow the same steps above. You might find you have 10 to 15 sentences to choose from. That’s okay. Pick the most reflective of your clear, specific and unique promise. And it’s okay to be quirky.

9. Use this as the core of your marketing plan

Your USP will now be the foundation of your marketing plan. It will dictate who you speak to, how you speak to them, what you’re offering and, most of all, how you ensure they keep coming back. A great USP shouldn’t just be a good brand exercise; it must be a business driver.

10. Embed it into your corporate culture

And finally, ensure you all live and breathe your USP. It should feature on all corporate documentation, emails, your website – even as a tagline under your logo. With everyone on board, clients will start to believe it as much as you do, which can only lead to good things.

An effective USP can be the difference between being one of many, and being the one!