One of the most important strategies to grow your Collaborative Practice is to master how you communicate the value of your services to potential clients. Creating a core message is the foundation for all marketing and communication activities and is essential to growing your Collaborative Practice.
Why have a core message?
An effective core message communicates the value of what you do and who your services are directed towards. It is how you attract desirable clients to your practice. Having a strong core message means you are able to clearly articulate what you do so anybody hearing or seeing your message will understand your value and how it relates to their specific goal or problem.
How to create a core message?
The first step in defining your core message is to answer the following questions:
• Who are the clients I want to attract to my practice?
• What is the value clients receive as a result of my expertise (What problem do I solve or solutions do I provide)?
By answering the above questions, you are translating your experiences, competencies and service description into a valued outcome for your client.
Description Based core message
Many Collaborative Practice professionals describe what they do based on list of features about the Collaborative Practice process. For example, the following message is a familiar description for Collaborative Practitioners:
We are a team of interdisciplinary professionals engaged in the practice of Collaborative law.
The emphasis is on the feature of the collaborative practitioner (team of interdisciplinay professionals) and on a description of the service (practice of collaborative law) versus any beneficial outcome to the client. The client or referral source has to work hard to translate what this means to them.
Value based core message
Compare this response to a collaborative family lawyer I consulted with to create a core message. Through the process of creating his core message, the collaborative lawyer internalized who his best client were, how he differentiated himself and the value of his service.
The result has been an increase in referrals from desirable clients. He is receiving web site referrals from clients who want what he does best. A few weeks ago, he was at a networking event and when was asked what he did, he replied, “I help divorcing clients to reach solutions and avoid prolonged conflict.” One gentleman was listening and heard his unique way of helping divorcing clients and immediately asked for his card. The gentleman said, "I am in the process of getting a divorce and have talked to three lawyers who all said the same thing, you are the first lawyer who has talked about reaching solutions.” A few days later, the gentleman retained him as his lawyer.
The success this collaborative lawyer experienced with his core message came from his ability to differentiate his practice and to convey the value of his services in a way that was relevant to the client. He also had increased confidence about his message which allowed him to focus on the needs and goals of the potential client instead of trying to "sell" Collaborative Practice. When the collaborative lawyer talked about what he did, it was not about the features or the process of Collaborative Practice. Instead he talked about the client, their problem, and his ability to help them solve their problem.
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