“What makes you different and better than my current financial advisor?”
It’s a legitimate question many investors ask and one that most advisors dread hearing. The reason why is because it calls for a compelling, cut-to-the-chase response that few advisors are equipped to provide.
Be Different, Really different
Most advisors react to this million-dollar question the same way, first with the blank stare of deer caught in headlights followed up by a tongue-tied, mumbo jumbo explanation that mimics what every other advisor is saying.
If you want to put investors to sleep, talk to them about the same things the same ways as other advisors. If you want to raise their eyebrows and pique their interest, skip the rhetoric about firm, product or service benefits. It may be important, but it’s generally not a distinguishing factor. If you really want to stand out and be noticed, talk to investors about your most important differentiator. Talk to them about you.
You Are The Differentiator
Government regulation and industry compliance have pretty much leveled the financial services playing field. For the most part, all that really differentiates one firm and one advisor from another is branding. Products are similar. Services are similar. Even the words and catch-phrases are alike, with everyone talking about “holistic approaches, client-centric service models and fiduciary responsibilities.” You don’t need a score card to tell the difference between advisors because it appears like they are all playing on the same team.
Once you strip away all the commoditization in the financial services industry, all that’s left for an investor to consider and evaluate is you – the advisor. You are their first point of contact. You must know them and their businesses so well that clients consider you part of their success equation. Your deep understanding of who they are personally and professionally allows you to anticipate their needs with clarity and respond to them with conviction. Without you, they could never fully realize the resources of your firm or the benefits of products and services offered.
Find Your Sweet Spot
To find your differentiator, be honest with yourself. Find out what financial problems you are the best at solving and then search for the people who have these types of problems. What invariably happens is you find your sweet spot niche. It will be a smaller segment of the investing public but your ability to create uncommon value for them is what becomes your differentiator. It may inevitably involve solutions your firm, products and services provide, but it will be your ability to personalize the connections necessary that makes the difference in their lives.
Finding the differentiator within yourself requires discipline. You’ll have to acquire additional expertise and experience that enhances your capabilities to your sweet spot clients and prospects. Whatever it takes, do it. Most advisors will stop at this point but if you are disciplined enough to learn more so you can do more, investors can’t help but take notice. They will acknowledge and appreciate the added value you provide.
Make Your Value Proposition More About You
It’s okay to talk about your firm, products and services in your value proposition. It’s okay to call attention to your expertise and experience. Unfortunately, if you stop there, you’ll sound more like your competition than different and better.
Different is better when it’s more effective. Craft your value proposition so it explains not just what you do, but especially – how you do it that makes you stand out favorably from the competition. Make it more about you because in the end, you are the one thing no other company or advisor can replicate.
Like this tip? We have a unique approach to assist advisors in crafting a powerful value proposition. Contact us to find out how we can help you grow your practice and achieve your goals.