The following is based on one of Norm Trainor’s clients. All of the names and telling details have been changed.
Successful businesses build strong and enduring brands. The strength of the brand contributes to the sustainability of the business and, in the same way, successful advisors can create a sustainable practice through building their brand.
This was a lesson Jay needed to learn. When we first started working together, Jay shared his frustrations about the ups and downs of his business. In his 12 years as an advisor, he had experienced many successes. Yet, in the last 5 years, his income fluctuated from a high of $475,000 to a low of $195,000, making it difficult to predict his income from one year to the next.
The solution to this problem was actually quite simple. His practice required a brand makeover. Jay’s success was based largely on his sales ability: He was very good at making sales but not particularly interested in what happened after the sale. The economics of his practice were geared to getting new clients and as a result, his brand equity was tied to his capabilities as a salesperson.
In his book, Married to the Brand, William J. McEwen points out that in building a brand, the objective is to create a brand marriage. Great brands are built on the number of brand marriages between consumers and the business, not the number of “one time” sales. A brand marriage is based on an ongoing connection between the client and the business, which creates an emotional and tangible bond.
In a similar manner, the sale of a financial product creates a bonded relationship because it is often based on the promise of future delivery of value. Financial products are intangible by nature and it is the commitment of the advisor and his or her team to maintaining the relationship after the sale that fosters a personal and emotional connection and makes the benefits tangible to clients.