Tax & Accounting Blog

Get Personal: The Personality Differentiator For More Business

Blog, Business Strategy & Development, Checkpoint Marketing for Firms, Marketing, Professional Development May 29, 2015

Why should I hire you? What makes you unique from competitors? How are your services better than theirs? These are the common questions that marketers ask when developing a marketing plan. The simple fact is that your firm looks pretty much the same as all the others within your industry unless you can demonstrate and communicate why you are different. Personality is the key to differentiating yourself and your firm from the masses. Marketing personality is essential for success.

Many professional service providers, including accountants, believe that indicating personality somehow minimizes their credibility and the seriousness of their work. Some CPAs (and lawyers) are even resistant to including personal details in their profiles and biographies, such as whether they are married, have a dozen rescued dogs, play water polo, knit sweaters for birds, sing with an a cappella choir, or have a season tickets for every football game.

Did you know that partner bios are often the most popular pages on an accounting firm’s website? The same is true for law firm websites. Profiles and biographies can represent over 60% of your website’s total traffic. That being said, it would be a huge mistake to stick to the traditional education/career-highlights/credentials formula of the corporate resume of days gone by. Yes, it is remarkable that you received your accounting degree from the Wharton School of Business. But that does not tell prospects if you will get to know them well enough to identify out-of-the-box tax minimization and wealth accumulation strategies. Nor will it differentiate you from other Top 50 grads. Potential clients want to know who they would be working with. They won’t get a sense of who you are from your professional statistics. Save your Curriculum Vitae for licensing boards.

The better approach is to integrate your inimitable personality into your marketing. You will generate more opportunities without losing any credibility or respectability (unless, of course, your hobbies consist of disreputable activities, in which case feel free to leave them out of your marketing strategy).

Personality is the key to more business opportunities

Start by getting your prospects’ attention. To make that oh-so-important first impression and invaluable bond, you have to showcase personality and touch your prospects on a relatable, accessible level. As I’ve said before:

  • Personality demonstrates why you are different than others who provide similar products or services
  • Personality shows, rather than tells, what makes you different and sets you apart
  • Personality engages the prospect, capturing his or her interest and drawing him or her into your message
  • Personality establishes an ongoing rapport between you and your prospects, creating a bond that will help you convert leads into clients when the time is right
  • Personality proves that there is more to you and your firm than facts, figures, laws and fancy technology
  • Personality transforms your message from boring to fascinating, increasing both the impact of your messages as well as the quality of the opportunities generated from them

Why your services are better than others, or more appropriate for certain target markets, is the core of your marketing focus. No doubt you can recite your elevator pitch in a pinch, but if you can’t also communicate your strengths with an intriguing amount of personality in your marketing messages and branding, you are surely precluding many (better) opportunities.

The personality pie: a recipe for success

There is no perfect recipe for incorporating personality into your marketing communications and strategy. Begin your pie with a heaping scoop of charisma. Add a dash of relatability and a pinch of benefit. Throw in a handful of interesting content. Season generously with knowledge. Sprinkle in some wit, humor and light-heartedness when appropriate. Mix together and make adjustments as needed.

Approach your marketing messages as though you were telling your friends a story. Marketing personality instinctively comes out when you tell a story. Everything has a story behind it. The trick is how you tell it.

Write your “stories” the same way you would deliver them in person to a wide-eyed audience that hangs on your every word. Sadly, most people (any non-professional-writers) typically show less personality when they write than we emote during natural speech. Mull that over for a second. If face-to-face communication naturally raises the amount of personality exposed, maybe videos would be the best way to start expressing more personality in your marketing (especially if you’re new to the whole marketing personality quotient concept).

If you’re camera-shy as many professionals are, you can raise the personality quotient in your blog posts and articles by intentionally expressing a conversational tone and adding in some real or theoretical examples, rather than just regurgitating the technical jargon.

Ready to infuse more personality into your marketing messages? Boost your marketing personality quotient with these quick-start ideas:

  • Publish a series of one-minute videos or written “thought of the day” one-liners (accompanied by a stunning and relevant photo) through your email newsletter and social media platforms that discuss your personal insight on some aspect of your area of expertise, industry or hot topic of the moment
  • Add extra personalization to your newsletter/blog subscribers’ welcome messages by using a friendly, conversational tone, something a little bit unexpected and personal, and remember to include your contact information, signature, and photo
  • Try to write the same way you speak when talking to your spouse or your friends (conversational tone); if you can’t get used to it at first, try “dictating” your article to yourself using your smartphone’s recorder, and then transcribe the article
  • Post photos of yourself and other key team members whenever you host firm activities, attend community events, participate in charitable activities or engage in personal hobbies
  • Introduce all new team members (not just professional staff) in creative and wonderful ways by using video, audio, photography, prose, haiku, crossword puzzle or some other engaging method
  • Create a “10 Favorite Things” editorial interview series where you interview various team members with the same list of 10 things, showcasing diversity and creativity among your staff and post the interviews with colorful photos on your website, blog, social media pages and email newsletter

The capacity for injecting personality into your marketing messages is limitless and need not alter your reputation as a credible professional advisor. As the engagement on business Facebook pages continues to increase, it is crystal clear that consumers embrace personality and seek out providers they can relate to on a human level.

So have a bit of fun and let your inner personality shine through in your marketing messaging. It will help differentiate you from the rest, attract more prospects and help you build long-term relationships, all of which is essential for business continuity and success. Shine on!