We know, don’t we, that good communication is important in business. In my view, one of the most fundamental pieces of communication is how we talk about what we do.

There are many challenges to be overcome here. We want to avoid sounding just like everyone else in the same field. We want our message to resonate with people and we want them to remember us and what we do.  For example, it’s not enough for them to remember you are an accountant as they probably know other accountants too. What can you reasonably hope they will remember to say about you when talk about you – especially to the sort of people you would welcome as clients.

One traditional approach here focuses on crafting a standard ‘elevator pitch’. Another requires us to identify a Unique Selling Point (USP). In my opinion, both of these miss the point.

Elevator pitches originated with the idea that it should be possible to deliver a summary of your idea or plan to an important person in the time span of an elevator ride. By definition in such cases you know almost nothing about the other person so cannot tailor what you say so that it resonates with them.

It can be a bit of a struggle too to avoid listing out everything we do and thus either confusing or overwhelming the person we are with.

I am also not a fan of accountants claiming to have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). I have suggested previously that a better idea would be to identify the Unique Perceived Benefits (UPBs) of your service proposition. See: Stop talking about your USP – it’s the same as other accountants. Another idea here is focus on identifying your ESPs (Emotional Selling Points) if that works for you.

Better than all this though, if you really want to STAND OUT from others in your field is to craft a number of messages that each satisfy my 5 point RUBIK test. And each of which will be relevant for different types of people you meet.

Here are the five tests:

Is it REPEATABLE? If you want to benefit from referrals and recommendations then you need to make it easy for the people you meet to tell others what you do. So it’s shouldn’t be more than a sentence.

Is it UNDERSTANDABLE? This means avoiding jargon. A friend told me, for example, that he stopped telling business contacts that he specialised in corporate finance and few knew what it means. He switched to saying he helps people to buy and sell businesses.

Is it BENEFICIAL? Rather than a statement of what you do, is there a clear benefit to your clients? Could you express this in terms of how your clients feel?

Is it INDIVIDUAL to you? Ideally what you say should be distinct from what other accountants might say. So your statement is individual and personal to you.

And finally, is it evidently KEY, relevant and meaningful to the person you are with.

It’s rarely easy to do this and you may never get it absolutely ‘right’. However you will find that the way you communicate your experience and expertise will improve if you keep the RUBIK acronym in mind.

I’m aware of course that many accountants feel that they provide a service that appears indistinguishable from many others who offer pretty much the same services. But your experiences are different and you each use those different experiences in different ways.

Getting it right is also hard, for different reasons, if you offer a number of services, as I do for example.

How do your business messages measure up against the RUBIK acronym?


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