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DECEMBER 2013 - Berman
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How to Create an Effective Value Statement: A Step-by-Step Guide

by Sharon Berman

Value statements are a frequently overlooked or undervalued aspect of an attorney’s professional marketing arsenal, but the effectiveness of an effective value statement can be priceless. Unlike taglines and slogans, which tend to have more of a promotional bent, value statements elegantly sum up what you do and the distinct value a client will receive from engaging your services.
 
You want to keep things memorable and to the point when crafting a value statement to represent what you bring to the table as an attorney. You want your value statement to tell your prospective client or referral source exactly what you will deliver – in just a handful of words, rather than two or three paragraphs. Most attorneys can easily describe what they do at great length, but find it much more challenging to article the essential value of their services without losing the interest of their intended audience along the way.

A great value statement will capture the attention of prospective clients, and can go a long way toward differentiating you from other attorneys in your areas of practice. But these value statements require brevity, and many professionals have learned the hard way that the shorter something needs to be, the more challenging it is to develop. Fortunately, there are ways to streamline the process of creating an effective value statement.

Step One: What Do You Do?
Start simple: Figure out how to put what you do into words. Identify the essential value you bring to your clients. How does your practice different from that of other attorneys in your field? Don’t censor yourself or worry about the quality of your writing – refinement comes later. Right now, you just want to get your ideas down on the screen or page in front of you. Ask yourself questions like:
·What do I do for my clients?
·How do these services benefit them?
·What is the essential value my clients glean from my services?
·What do I do differently from other attorneys?
Remember that the "essential value” you bring to your clients goes deeper than simply the end result. For example, an IT firm keeps a company’s systems running smoothly so that the owner doesn’t have to worry about it, leaving him or her free to focus on other aspects of the business. The real value is that peace of mind, which leads to greater efficiency, which in turn enhances the company’s revenue potential.

What are you truly bringing to the table as a law professional? How do you enhance your clients’ lives?

Step Two: Choosing the Right Words
Once you start to grasp exactly what you bring to clients, you can start working on the statement itself. Write down words that relate to the qualities you have identified as your values. How can you describe your value in terms of action words and phrases, such as generate, create, develop, increase, etc.?

Now you’re ready for the most challenging part of the process: Distilling your thoughts into one potent, concise statement. Ideally, your value statement should be no more than 10 to 12 words. Brainstorming without censoring yourself can be helpful at this juncture. Ask for input from colleagues you trust to get feedback, and work on refining your statement over several days. If you’re truly stuck, consider calling on a marketing firm or professional writer.

Step Three: Putting Your Value Statement to Work
After you’ve arrived at a clear and concise value statement that describes what unique attributes you bring to your practice, you’re ready to put it to work for you! Incorporate your value statement into all of your marketing materials, including proposals, social media and websites, and one-on-one with referrals and prospective clients.

Ultimately, you will find that taking the time to create a value statement that is truly evocative of the work you do will go a long way toward making your voice heard in a competitive legal landscape.

Examples of value statements:
Sobul, Primes & Schenckel, CPAs: Freeing clients to pursue their passions…since 1981.
Merck: To preserve and improve human life
Berbay Corp. Marketing & Public Relations: Creating visibility and credibility that fuel revenue growth.
 
 
Sharon Berman is principal of Berbay Corp. Marketing & Public Relations specializing in working with law firms. The website is www.berbay.com She can be reached at berman@berbay.com.
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