“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
— Simon Sinek
Very few people can clearly articulate why they do what they do—what is their broader purpose, cause or belief? When most firms and professional service providers think, act and communicate, they do so from the outside in—from WHAT to WHY.
What nearly every firm’s selling proposition communicates:
We provide great professional advisory services, from traditional A&A and tax to consulting services like risk advisory, business valuations and technology. They are all supported by subject matter experts that provide premier client service. Hire us!
What every firm’s selling proposition should actually communicate:
Everything we do starts with understanding your professional and business goals and objectives. We believe in partnering differently. The way we approach the status quo is by challenging people to define what success really looks like and then providing the right service solution(s) to help them achieve it. And, it’s all supported by subject matter experts that provide premier client service.
In the second example, we didn’t simply reverse the order of the information. Instead, the message starts with WHY— it articulates purpose, cause and belief that has nothing to do with WHAT a CPA firm does. What a firm does, as defined by the services that it provides, and the manner in which it provides them (e.g., with premier client service) no longer serves as the reason to buy.
Today, clients and prospective clients are completely at ease with a firm that offers many different services in various niche areas. It’s not WHAT your firm does that distinguishes you; it’s WHY you do it. Your services propel your cause, and everything you do should work to demonstrate WHY you do it.
If a client feels inspired rather than manipulated to engage your firm, they will be able to verbalize the reasons why they think hiring you over your competitor makes better sense.
It is the cause that is represented by the firm, its brand, its services and its people that inspires loyalty. Instead of asking “WHAT should we do to compete?” the questions that you and your colleagues should be asking are, “WHY do we do WHAT we’re doing in the first place, and WHAT can we do to bring our cause to life?”