Take The Five "So Whats" Test

By Tony Tiernan

Why do professional services firms struggle so much to make their offerings sound compelling and valuably different? 

One common reason we have found when working with clients is that they often stop short of describing their real value. They describe their process or approach or intellectual capital, but not the benefit that it delivers.

Take these frequently used descriptions: “We help clients tackle their toughest, most complex problems”; or “we partner with our clients”; or “we take a holistic approach”; or “we have a proven methodology”, etc. There are many more examples.

None of these descriptions (or the dozens like them) answers the one question that matters most to a prospective client or recruit: “How will you make my life better?” 

We use a simple device when helping clients explain why who they are and what they do matters to the clients and talented professionals they are trying to attract. Ask “So What” five times as you iterate your description. By the fifth “So What” you will likely arrive at a clear benefits-based description of your offering. That’s what your audience really wants to know.

Look out for more from us on the challenge of differentiation, over the coming weeks.

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