December 14, 2010

HOW WOULD YOU SELL SOAP (2010 edition)?

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Would you like to spend the evening discussing flaws in the Wills of a couple killed in an accident with a tractor trailer?

I did at the Estate Planning Council of Mississauga yesterday, along with advisors in accounting, donating, insuring, investing and law.

For this case study, estate lawyers were the primary participants. As an experiment, I wondered if I could pick one to add to the Taxevity referral network.


There were four main unknowns
  1. Skill: Since I didn't know their backgrounds, I couldn't pick the equivalent of the skilled "top-of-the-class Harvard grad"
  2. Safety: Since I didn't know much about law firms, I couldn't pick the equivalent of the safe "no one gets fired for buying IBM".
  3. Expertise: Since I don't know how difficult the work was, I couldn't tell how much skill was needed. Maybe the case study was the equivalent of The Cat In The Hat --- entertaining but elementary.
  4. Value: Since I didn't know how much they charge, I couldn't gauge the relative value for the money.
The participants made reasonable points. What if the better lawyers were silent, absent, or in another group?

The Deciding Factor

There was no clear winner. Maybe you're great at picking lawyers. What about investment advisors? I spoke to three. Again, the same problem of picking one arose.

Do you see the difficulty your potential clients face in choosing you and referring you?


Your clients usually have reasonable substitutes for your product or services. How do you set yourself apart in a way that matters to them? This question keeps arising.

In 2007, we asked how would you sell soap? What are you doing differently for today's soap buyers?

If your potential clients can't tell what's different about your offering, they see a commodity and buy based on factors like convenience and price. Can you blame them?


PS Maybe we'll have a 2013 edition if people still buy soap then.

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