I’m celebrating: This week marks the 5-year anniversary of my newsletter—247 posts to date.
In case you missed my last post: Future-Proof Your Practice: Create a Minimum Viable Service. Looking back on our history of providing “traditional” BVFLS work, we’ve enjoyed the long-time luxury of complacency. And basically, we’ve gotten by—even flourished—by providing services that are primarily all-or-nothing, one-to-one, and once-and-done. But what happens when those traditional services aren’t needed. I’ve got an app for that!
On to this week: If the value we deliver to clients is obvious and similar to what others like us do, we are likely providing commodity services and competing on the basis of price. But if we can deliver hidden or even unexpected value that differentiates us from what others do, we can earn “excess profits” that are not likely to be eroded by competition.
Last week I received an email from Simon Bowen. If you have never heard of Simon, he is—among other things—a business performance improvement coach. And the creator of the highly recognized Genius Model—which you’ve likely seen before.
Here is Simon’s email, verbatim:
I just have one simple, but super challenging question for you.
What unanticipated, but profoundly valuable paradigm shift do your clients experience, as a result of buying your product or service?
As an extension to that, what are the top three tangible, differentiated results your product or service creates for them, that they are unlikely to get from anywhere else?
Tough questions for all of us … but absolutely worth the effort to unpack the answers.
WOW. Just wow.
Now Simon’s languaging may seem over-the-top to left-brained people like us.
After all, we “only” provide BVFLS services, not deliver live-changing news (and checks) like Publishers Clearing House.
And yet, put yourself in the shoes of our clients.
Generally, they expect we will delight them by delivering over-the-top results.
That our reports (and, perhaps, our testimony) may even save their bacon.
But what areas of BVFLS can really deliver on that promise?
I think more so FLS than BV.
And that’s because the FLS work normally involves more creative type approaches, methods, and procedures (within the bounds of professional standards, of course).
And the BV work is more compliance related—estate and gift tax valuations are perfect examples—with an accompanying client focus of “I have to do this” rather than “I want to do this” or “I need to do this.”
But not everyone aspires to do FLS work … and that’s okay.
And what clients are willing to pay for that kind of outcome?
I believe larger clients with more at stake are less price sensitive and are willing to pay for paradigm-shifting (bacon-saving) results, which can translate into higher fees for us.
But not everyone aspires to serve larger clients … and that’s okay, too.
In real life
On a recent coaching call, I lamented the fact that “my generation” of appraisers remembers the days when we easily got $15k to value a minority interest in a closely-held C-corporation for an estate/gift tax purpose valuation.
Now the pricing is what … two-thirds of that? Half of that?
I can see the next generation lamenting the decline in pricing they’ll see from this level years from now.
You are either going to be moved by Simon’s question or you’re not.
If you are delivering hidden or unexpected value, the sky is the limit for the Authority you can build and the fees you can command.
If you’re not motivated to provide paradigm-shifting results and offer differentiated services (which may require redefining your services and/or specialization), be prepared for what Seth Godin calls a race to the bottom.
Don’t be the best. Be the only.
PS – Whenever you are ready, here are 4 ways I can help you build/grow your BVFLS practice:
1. Join Practice Development ROUNDTABLE
It’s a new Facebook community for BVFLS professionals who are collaborating on how to turn the practices they have into the practices they want.
2. Download this Find Your Niche infographic
The riches are in the niches, as they say. But what’s missing is a process that can help you identify your niche. This infographic is the missing process.
3. Take a free Practice Self-Assessment
I have 10 quick questions, and your answers will help you get a sense of how well your practice is working for you.