Chances are you went into the professional service business to make life easier for other people.
You help solve problems for them so they can sleep better at night.
I really admire that.
In fact, as a part-time business lawyer, I can completely relate.
But now we’ve got a problem we can’t ignore
We’re an endangered species — and no-one is really talking about it.
Our industry journals talk about “building a practice” with the use of technology as if, in 2017, it’s still business as usual and our biggest competitors are fellow service professionals.
Only it isn’t.
Computers want our jobs
We are quietly being replaced by lines of computer code.
In the legal business the 500 lb gorilla is Avvo.com.
In your industry it could be betterment, or Zillow, or Turbotax, or… just google.
Hi-tech DIY is threatening our very existence and if we smell at all like a commodity — we’ll be toast.
If this isn’t keeping you at night it should
Sports Authority didn’t pay attention and e-commerce put it out of business.
Investment Planning News warns about the threat posed by Vanguard’s expansion into the Registered Investment Advisor field.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Here’s how to stop it
Build a brand.
Now, more than ever, you need a brand.
The best way to prevent computers from putting you out of business is to make sure you are not a nameless, faceless, generic, easily replaceable commodity.
That’s what a brand does.
Here are six steps you can take today to start building a strong, trustworthy brand and prevent computer-aided extinction:
- Focus on human-to-human connection. Computers can’t do that (yet). Triple-down on networking with a human-touch. Use social media to share more and humanize yourself. Be more interested in your clients and their lives outside your area of expertise. Good ol’ fashioned speaking and writing are still the best way to grow human connections.
- Know your “secret sauce.” You undoubtedly provide services in a way different than anyone else in your field. Maybe you know more about entrepreneurism than your competition, or you can help serve as a business advisor in addition to being an accountant. Whatever it is, identify it and let new and existing customers know about it often.
- Use social media. You absolutely need to be using social media to stay in touch with your clients — they expect it. Find out which social media platforms your clients use and make sure you have a strong and consistent presence.
- Go narrow and deep. Computers can always replace a generalist in your field. It is much, much harder to replace someone who is an authority in a narrow field.
- Be really good. If tech-driven DIY has done anything good for our professions, it has been to crowd out mediocrity. Instead of getting mediocre service, people can do it themselves. There will always be people who want to pay an actual person for services though: whether they be tax returns, investment advice, or legal advice. And when they do, these people want to pay for very good, not mediocre.
- Get good at explaining complicated stuff. Many of us (especially lawyers, I know) are known for speaking over people’s heads. Figure out a good way to explain complicated things in terms that your audience actually cares about. If people have to google concepts after you explain them then… well you know where that will take them.
Are you concerned with how technology is taking over parts of your profession? Which steps will you take this year to protect your livelihood?
I hope this article was useful for you. If so can you do me a favor? 1) share it with your friends — sharing is caring and they should be thinking about the threat of technology too. 2) subscribe to my free newsletter for easy business speaking & writing hacks so you can build a better, stronger brand. I really try my best to send out great stuff and I’d rather it went into your inbox instead of just floating around randomly on the internet…
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