A unique value proposition (UVP) helps prospective clients understand what differentiates you from other lawyers. It is a marketing tool that helps to set expectations of what prospects can expect when they hire you. Most UVPs focus generally on service delivery, experience, and expertise, or process management and improvement. Your UVP should be authentic (capture something that is true about you), valuable to your clients, provable (if possible), and unique.
But a UVP offers more than a soundbite describing how you work with clients. The process of articulating your UVP can help you determine how well-differentiated you are and help you build more refined qualities into your practice. As you develop your UVP, think about ways that you can make those differentiating points more easily observable and more consistently delivered. Think about how you might be able to track whether you are delivering on your UVP so that you can continuously improve your clients’ experience with you.
The process described in this short worksheet helps you to clarify how you currently deliver services (or how you aspire to deliver services). The process of developing your UVP will enable you to benchmark your best qualities so that you can stay focused on the delivery standards you promise.
Creating Your UVP
A strong UVP has four main components, in no particular order:
1. The practice description, which describes what you do.
2. The target client profile, which communicates what sorts of clients you work with, or wants
to work with.
3. A description of the benefits that clients reap by engaging you.
4. A description of how your services are unique, or how your practice differs from the competition.
Here’s an example:
I help real estate developers and municipalities resolve land-use issues and business disputes by focusing on common-sense solutions—from initial negotiation through the administrative process, trial, and appeal. My clients benefit from my years of success as general counsel of a large real estate developer, where I creatively worked around some of the most complex and archaic zoning codes in the country.
1. Practice Description
Let’s begin by concisely describing what you do. To start, you might try filling in the blanks below.
I am a(n) ___________________.
My practice involves _________________.
2. Target Client Profile
Now, let’s describe the kinds of clients for whom you work, or want to work. Remember to portray your ideal client in terms of the relevant industry, legal problem, business type, company size, stage of business maturity, or another feature. To start, you might try filling in the blanks below.
I work with _______________ who seek solutions to _________________________.
My clients are ________________ who _________________________________.
3. Client Benefits
Now, let’s describe the primary, or top-ranked, benefits that clients derive from working with you. Here, your task is to articulate, as succinctly and forcefully as possible, how you make your clients better off than they would be without you. Think about all the various ways you benefit your clients, and from among these, pick the one or two you think most important. To start, you might try filling in the blanks below.
My clients experience ___________________________.
My clients benefit from ___________________________.
4. Practice Differentiation
Now, let’s describe the primary, or top-ranked, ways in which your practice is unique, or different from the competition. Think about all those attributes and qualities that make your work stand out. From among these, pick the one or two you think most important. Be as succinct and forceful as possible as you write. To start, you might try filling in the blanks below.
My practice is unique, in that ___________________________.
I’ve set my practice apart by ____________________________.
How Will You Measure Your UVP?
To internalize these qualities, identify the metrics or activities that you can use to measure whether or not you are delivering on your UVP. For instance, if you distinguish your service by being very responsive to your clients, you might track whether you return calls within the same business day. The point here is to identify metrics, activities, or behaviors that you can easily track to demonstrate you are delivering on your promise.
Putting It All Together
Now that you have the components of a good UVP, let’s try putting them together to create a final UVP that gets you noticed. Here, you’ll combine the separate statements you just crafted into one comprehensive and concise proposition. The separate components don’t need to be in any specific order, so experiment with different sequences. Feel free to retool your previous statements as needed to integrate them seamlessly. As you write, try to make your style and tone as conversational as you can, while maintaining an appropriate degree of professionalism. You want your UVP to be easy both for you to communicate and for your prospective clients to understand.
Once you’re happy with your final UVP, practice speaking it aloud, as if you are actually presenting it to a prospective client. If you can, record yourself and play it back, critiquing yourself as you listen. Do you sound authentic and natural? Are you convincing, clear, and intelligible? The more you practice your statement, the more natural and convincing it will become.