I’m guessing that most of you reading this will have heard about the differences between features and benefits:
Features – Writing about you and your firm and its capabilities, typically with no references to the client ( eg We have these number of offices doing this kind of work for those kind of clients with this number of partners etc)
Benefits – Describing how your services will deliver value to the client
In my training programmes, I often make the distinction between these two forms of communication by giving the following example. If the firm has an international office network, they might say:
“We have an office in Brussels”.
This is a typical feature statement. I then ask the lawyers to consider what the potential client benefits might be of having an office in Brussels. I even recall asking this question of an EU/Competition group in Belgium on a retreat. They struggled for a bit until a bright associate piped up with:
….”Which means that we’re always bumping into the relevant commissioners….in fact we know them really well….so you will always get advance notice of any competition issues, which will give you competitive advantage…..”
Bingo! There’s a great example of a benefit statement. And just imagine how the prospective client feels when the lawyer talks about those benefits and what a cold response the bland reference to ‘an office in Brussels’ gets!
To help you get the hang of it, I’ll point out that there are only 5 categories of benefits. Can you guess what they are? I’ll reveal more in a blog due out shortly.