I think most marketers would agree that one of the hardest things for a firm to do is to actually create a solid consulting firm value proposition.   You need something that is truly unique, meaningful and actually differentiates their firm from the pack.  If your firm is considering starting the process, or you’re currently mid-stream, here are five important steps to consider.

1 – Research

A key ingredient to a successful value proposition is research.  Take the time to properly research several types of individuals to get a well-rounded perspective of your firm.  Your representative pool could be a mixture of leads, existing clients, prospective clients and even clients that got away.  You might be surprised to learn that the consulting service you thought was your strong point, is a service most prospects don’t even know you provide. 

Just as important as doing external research, is looking internally and talking to your current employees.  Again, you might be surprised at what your employees think your firm really does or what value it provides to clients!  As they will ultimately be the face of your new brand message, it’s important to take their perspectives into consideration.

2 – Boil It Down

You’re likely to get a lot of useful information from your research. So much that it may seem overwhelming.  Boil down your information by categorizing the results into appropriate buckets. What makes your consulting firm different from others?

 As you do this, several overarching themes will more than likely start to shine through.  Use these differentiating statements to fuel your value proposition and resulting brand message.

3 – Differentiate

My colleague once defined a firm’s value proposition to me as their DNA.  It may sound simple, but just as your DNA is different than anyone else’s, so should be your consulting firm’s value proposition.  Taking into consideration what you learned from your research, find the statements that no other firm can claim and that make your firm truly unique.   

At the end of the day, if the only thing you come up with is ‘we hire the best people,’ ‘we provide unique solutions,’ or ‘we deliver the highest quality customer service,’ you might want to consider revisiting your research findings.   Don’t get me wrong, these are great qualities for a firm to have, but really, any firm can say that and probably does. 

Don’t fall into the trap of staying too safe with your value proposition.  And don’t be afraid to take as much risk as you feel comfortable taking.  The more you can pinpoint what your true differentiators are and clearly identify them in your consulting firm’s value proposition, the stronger it will be. 

4 – Implement and Ignite

You’ve spent hours reviewing and interpreting results, clarifying messages, toiling over and wordsmithing your value proposition and it’s finally complete!  So now what?  Now you have the heavy task of implementing and igniting your employees to eat, sleep and breathe your firm’s new DNA. 

This usually involves an internal rollout meeting with all employees, explaining the process of how you got to this point and what the how your firm’s new value proposition relates to them.  Keep lines of communication open for any questions and keep everyone informed of what changes they may need to make in their day-to-day schedules. 

Also, make sure your value proposition is easy to find internally.  Post it on the fridge in your office’s kitchen.  Post it on your firm’s intranet site.  Print it on cards for your employees to keep in their wallets.  Whatever you do, get everyone excited and keep the message front stage and center.

5 – Tell the World

Once you have your staff onboard it’s time to tell the world about the value you bring to your clients. Incorporate it into your website and marketing materials, build your proposals around it, and weave it into your pitches. In other words tell the world about it.

A consulting firm’s value proposition is of little use unless prospective clients and referral sources know what it is. So don’t be shy about promoting it. Because it is so visible it is important to get it right. Following these five steps is a good way to develop a winning value proposition for your consulting firm. The road to complete adoption is bound to be a little bumpy.  But once everyone is onboard, your firm will be stronger and more focused on the future.