I am a small business owner. I’m a DUI lawyer and criminal defense lawyer who owns his own firm. I work in an extremely competitive industry. I compete on a daily basis with other lawyers trying to do exactly the same thing as I am on price, experience, and on customer service. And with almost every potential client I meet I face the question “what makes you different from everyone else?” It’s essentially the same as saying “why should I chose you?” It’s an important question that every small business owner, whether a plumber, an electrician, a dentist, or a physical therapist, needs to be able to answer.
When I first started meeting people, I had a hard time answering this question, and the reason for that was simple – I hadn’t prepared to answer it. I’d stumble through some things about customer service and credentials, and hope that people would buy what I was selling and sign up with me. Sometimes they would, sometimes they wouldn’t. What I soon learned, though, was that I needed to think about it more in depth to be able to let potential clients know that I could give them what they were looking for. Here’s what I did.
First, it’s important to think about what your potential client is looking for. Everyone wants results, and if you are significantly better than others out there, you should find a way to show that to your potential clients. In my line of work as a DUI lawyer, people are looking for answers to two questions – why do you cost so much (sometimes much more than other people); and how are you going to get results different than the guy across the street? Those questions aren’t answered easily.
The next logical thing you need to be able to do is answer those questions. You need to show in concrete ways why this potential client is better off choosing you over the other guy. Don’t just think about what people want to know and then wing it – write out your answers, practice them, and then incorporate them into your prospective client meetings.