Many financial advisory teams find the task of creating a value proposition to be a paradoxical challenge. On one hand, nearly all teams recognize the importance of distinguishing themselves from their peers in ways that resonate with today’s new generation of discerning investors. On the other hand, the similarity of work performed coupled with regulatory oversights and compliance constraints combine to herd advisors and their teams into a crowded corner that make them seem more alike than different.
The net result of this Catch-22 dilemma is that most advisory teams today are still struggling to create and articulate a compelling value proposition. Some teams have taken the path of least resistance, adopting generic tag lines, slogans and catch phrases that may be witty but communicate little or no value to investors. Others have defaulted to canned elevator-type pitches that invariably fail because by trying to make them apply to everyone, they end up being relevant to no one.
A 2014 survey by Pershing revealed that 60 percent of investors believe there is no discernible difference separating one financial advisor from another, that they say and do the same things. It’s a valid observation. Many advisors and teams have similar credentials, designations and experience. While the products and services they offer may differ by brand name, they are essentially more alike than unique.
So how does an advisory team create a value proposition that will convince an investor to choose them over a competitor? A change in perception is one of the best places to begin. Most advisory teams are “too close to the forest to see the trees,” meaning what they think is important might not be what investors value most. There is a tendency among advisory teams to focus their value propositions on functional benefits. While such benefits can be important, advancements in technology will continue to level the functionality playing field and thus minimize a team’s approach to asset allocation and investment management as valid points of differentiation.
Humanize Your Value Proposition
One way advisory teams can grow their practice, build long term client relationships and distinguish themselves from the norm is by incorporating an emotional component into their value proposition. A rational appeal can give you the opportunity to knock on the client’s door. Communicating your team’s value in a way that the client can actually “feel” and take to heart will earn your team an invitation to walk through that door.
Value propositions that blend logic and feeling into a seamless theme are the ones that stand out in ways investors will take notice. Speak to them less about how your team manages money and more about why and how you can help them live the lives they imagine. Instead of explaining pie charts and spread sheets to clients, explain the more personal reasons why your team is the best choice to give true meaning and purpose to their wealth. Tell your team story in a way that connects with clients on a human level and you’ll gain the opportunity to earn their loyalty and trust.
Tell Your Untold Story
Few advisory teams have the literary mindset that allows them to articulate their personal stories. It’s why some teams have retained professional assistance to create value propositions that clearly communicates their tangible value in an intangible industry. Poet Maya Angelou wrote “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story.” Being able to tell your team’s untold story is no longer simply about client acquisition. It’s about surviving and prospering in the evolving financial landscape.
In next month’s Coach’s Corner, we will offer insights on how to humanize your team’s value proposition in ways that will pique investor interest and differentiate you from competitors.
Like this tip? We have guided numerous financial advisors in creating a customized Value Proposition for their team. Our proprietary process is designed specifically for financial advisory practices. Creating a powerful, effective Value Proposition can be a daunting task, to find out how we can help, please Contact us today.