Two Tips for Communicating Value

A quick question:

Which marketing pitch would more likely get you to contact me?

“I have years of experience working with clients to re-engineer their legal process flows to gain efficiency and reduce costs.”


“I teach techniques proven to help clients optimize their legal operations and deliver services that meet or exceed business objectives.”

Word choice is important. I’m not saying the second pitch is perfect (I’ve edited it several times while drafting this post), but I do know the first pitch is lousy.

The basic tenet of my Legal Value Theory is that Value = Benefit – Investment. Words like “work with” or “re-engineer” communicate Investment (Effort, Time, Resources), but not Benefit (and therefore not Value). In other words, Waste. Would you hire a plumber who offered to “work with” you to “re-engineer” your house’s pipes?

So tip #1: Choose words that communicate Benefit to your customer.

The other problem with the first pitch is that it’s more about me than about the client. Yes I’m proud of the work I have done in the past—and clients may want to reference it at some point. But putting that experience in my sales pitch doesn’t tell the client what Benefit she will derive from working with me, only what I’ve done in the past. They are not the same thing.

Moreover, the first pitch makes a specific assumption about the client’s desired Benefit: if my prospect is looking for something beyond cost control, I’m out of luck. More than that, I think the second pitch implies that I will Invest my Time and Effort to understand the client’s business objectives (whatever they may be). It even suggests an opportunity to exceed those objectives and make the client look like a hero.

This hits on my previous suggestion that Benefit is largely emotional. By using emotion-triggering language you can disproportionally impact the client’s perception of your services’ Benefit. (By the way, I do strive to make my clients look like heroes.)

Iron Man

Which leads to tip #2: Make it about the client. Specifically, make it about making the client look and feel good.

The converse of this is just as important: don’t make it about you. (Or, get the hell out of your own way.)

Now ask yourself: Which of the two pitches most resembles the text on your website? If it’s the first one, schedule 15 minutes in the next few days for some Value-oriented editing. You’ll be glad you did.

© 2014 John E. Grant.
photo credit: Anna Fischer via photopin cc

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