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How to win a client in 20 seconds

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The biggest mistake made in marketing — and a reason that success can be so elusive — is to not clearly explain who you are and what you offer.

At a business meeting or function, when someone asks what you do, how do you answer? Many advisors simply say, “I’m a financial advisor.” Oftentimes, however, when that question is asked your black-and-white answer actually causes people to want to talk with you less! For the past 18 months I have asked groups of financial advisors how they answer this question and if their answer would have people wanting to talk with them more or less. Ninety-five percent of the advisors answer with a response of “less!” The perplexing question I then have to ask: If you know that your answer will have a negative response, why don’t you say something different?

Less is more

Every firm needs to have a refined story to assist in marketing and client acquisition. But, there is a serious need to have a compelling opening line for your firm story. Without this, you may never get the chance to share your story. Even the classic elevator pitch is too gimmicky for an informal initial introduction. In a world of ever-decreasing attention spans, less is definitely more.

A solution for compelling others to want to listen to you is to develop a 15 to 20 second Simple, Repeatable Statement of Value (SRSV). An SRSV is a statement that is easy to remember and shares some value directly for the person you are speaking with. Below is the four-step formula for building your own SRSV. Your SRSV may not include the answer to every question, and it doesn’t have to be compiled in this order.

SRSV Builder Questions:

1. Who are you?

2. What do you do?

3. Who do you work with (niche)?

4. What is unique/memorable about what you do or have done?

Financial Advisor Example 1: “I work with family-owned businesses, helping them pay less in taxes and protect their assets. I specifically work with those with serious profit problems … big profits.”

Financial Advisor Example 2: “I am a financial advisor and our firm works with wealthy families to help them mitigate risk and protect their legacy. We work with some of the wealthiest families in Chicago. Our business is built solely on the introductions from our current clients and their advisors.

Financial Advisor Example 3: “I am a financial advisor with XYZ firm. We specialize in working with corporate executives getting ready to retire from Abbott Labs. 

All three of these are actual SRSVs that give quick and reasonably clear initial descriptions of what they do. All share with the listener who they specialize in working with — a powerful tool in framing your unique position. And all end with something unique.

By focusing on a short, memorable and clear description of your company and your compelling benefits, you will find that it is easier to open the door to a stream of referrals, new clients and sales. Taking the time to focus on your firm story and your SRSV messaging can bring a dramatic return on investment far superior to that of many other activities you do in your business.


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