Investments aside: Providing real value
Sept. 18, 2013
For most asset managers, fund performance is the key to rising above the competition. This may seem obvious because without competitive returns clients could go elsewhere.
Financial advisors and other consultants, however, often face the broader business challenge of proving exceptional when competitors may offer similar access to similar products. Finding a way to stand out in the eye of a potential client — investments aside — may be difficult. Fortunately, there are some basic approaches to positioning yourself that I've found can make all the difference.
Dare to prepare
Most athletes will tell you it’s during preparation that an event is won — not during the event itself. As sales professionals in our industry, we spend most of our time competing (“winning” new clients, for example) and often find little time left for preparation.
But it’s your preparation time that separates you from the pack. You have to be willing to do more than your competitors to succeed.
Here are three steps that can set you on the winning path.
Create your value proposition
Anyone can offer a product, but what services do you provide that set you apart from others? Create a brief value proposition that clearly defines what you can do for your client. It should go beyond a simple job description to outline the real reason a potential client would choose you as his or her financial advisor.
An example of a value proposition is — "I help my clients make more-informed decisions about their money and the growth and preservation of their assets and estate."
Build meaningful relationships
Advisors often make the mistake of casting too wide a net, which can result in many relationships, but few meaningful ones. To succeed, narrow your focus and allocate the proper resources to nurture your best relationships.
By developing an understanding of your clients, how they make decisions, and what they are trying to achieve (both financially and in life), you can get to know them well and help align holistic solutions to their needs.
Commit to learning
To stay on top of your game, you’ll need to be a voracious learner. Multiple designations, licenses, and a daily habit of studying your craft are all essential to succeed. Being well read about current issues and ideas goes a long way in helping you connect with your clients.
So what’s next?
As you look ahead, take a moment to assess your efforts. In such a crowded industry, find a way to stand out and make a difference in your clients’ lives.
A good friend once told me, “Different isn’t always better, but better is always different.” Putting in extra time and effort may just help you lead the way.