When seeking new clients, financial advisors like to impress their prospects with boatloads of facts, figures and data. But are they telling a good story that will convince potential clients on an emotional level that they can make a difference in their lives?
According to one of the most popular and commented upon articles this week in the Harvard Business Review, “If You Want to Raise Prices, Tell a Better Story,” Ty Montague writes that the ability to sell a product or service comes from telling a narrative that reveals something meaningful and inspires action.
Montague, who is co-founder and co-CEO of the marketing firm co:collective and author of True Story: How to Combine Story and Action to Transform Your Business, says that as the number of brands proliferates globally “in a world of almost overwhelming abundance,” the most important ingredient in driving up a company’s margins is “an authentic, meaning-rich story.“
Meaning Yields Pricing Power
While Montague speaks in terms of product sales, his lesson certainly applies as well to the sale of a financial advisor’s services to a new customer. Most interestingly, he examines how a well-told story can actually help a business raise its prices.
First, Montague breaks down the concept of pricing strategy by laying out the four traditional pricing methods:
- Bottom up: Calculate the cost of everything that goes into making a product, and add a fair margin on top.
- Sideways in: Analyze and adopt the price of competitors’ products.
- Top down: Target a demographic or economic segment, then engineer the product to meet that price.
- Dynamic: Use a complex, real-time calculation to gauge supply and demand, usually with the help of an algorithm.
But then he goes on to describe a fifth, lesser-known method, which he calls “story analysis,” meaning an analysis of a product’s ability to fulfill a profound human need and to tell a story that gives customers’ lives richer meaning.
“In a world of abundance, what your product does for your customers is important, but not nearly as important as what your product means to them,” Montague writes. “And this second part — the story of your product — is what yields the greatest pricing power of all.”
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