Value propositions, as they are typically executed, usually do not work. Why is this so? Because most value propositions do not leave people with anything memorable to hang their hats on. And this is because value propositions are not about what prospects care about.

The issue of value propositions was examined in a recent study by financial-services firm Pershing. The Pershing study found that “the strongest value propositions combine four distinct elements: attributes of the firm, benefits to the client, a rational argument and an emotional component.” I would suggest one more element to really engage prospects: sharing that you have worked with someone like your prospect and therefore understand his situation. This is a powerful credibility builder.

Most prospects believe that their situations are completely unique and that advisors are all the same. So instead of describing yourself in a typical value proposition way, consider using something more conversational and customer-focused which will help you stand out from the crowd.

With a simple, repeatable, statement of value, you can keep the conversation about things of interest to your prospect. The goal is to have her see herself in your statement and find it applicable to her situation.

Most statements of value include things that every advisor does for every prospect. A better way is to have a pocketful of statements which you can tailor to the individual prospect. Focus on clients you have helped who have faced similar situations and the ways you have benefited them.

When you make it about your prospect, your statement of value will have markedly better results.

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Maribeth Kuzmeski is the founder of Red Zone Marketing, LLC, which consults to Fortune 500 firms on strategic marketing planning and business growth. For more information, go to www.redzonemarketing.com.