If you were like most professionals in our industry, 2006 was an extraordinary year. It was great while it lasted, but it also made the next phase of your growth more challenging. How you confront this challenge will be critical to your ability to secure more market share and experience continued growth.
The New Year usually brings with it the pursuit of many new initiatives. Among the most important should be a re-examination of your unique client value proposition, which enables you to stand out from the competition.
For many, developing that value proposition is more troublesome than they are willing to admit. Why? Because, many financial services professionals have gradually developed their success through sacrifice, internal fortitude and persistence, not from building a unique client value proposition. Many professionals have difficulty articulating why prospects would want to do business with them, why existing clients do business with them and which of the services they provide is the most valuable.
Do you know why your clients really do business with you? If not, you’re not alone.
What’s Your Value Proposition
Your value proposition is the unique service you provide to your clients. Your value has to be more specific than “my clients like me” or “I am a great guy, so prospects should do business with me.” If these were the key values desired in your market, there would be a lot of financial professionals providing the same client value.
The “good guy” value is the most commoditized value in our industry, which makes it very difficult to differentiate oneself in the market. Your client value proposition must be specific and unique if you want to build a sustainable marketing strategy.
If people don’t remember who you are or what you stand for in the marketplace you serve, you become non-existent as a service provider. For example, when you think of BMW, you probably think of the ‘ultimate driving machine.’ When you think of Volvo you probably think of ‘safety.’ These two automobile manufactures have clearly differentiated themselves in an overcrowded market.
What do your clients or prospects think of when they hear or read your name? Hopefully, they think of the traits that differentiate you from the rest of the crowd.
How Do You Start?
Knowing what your best clients and prospects value most in the services you provide will help you develop your marketing plan. A formal advisory board is one of the best ways to get this information.
You should identify a select group of individuals as experts and opinion leaders and ask them what sophisticated investors desire in a relationship with a financial service professional. Then value their feedback by personally inviting them to participate on your advisory board. People generally like to help others, and they definitely like to be considered an opinion leader and expert.