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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing

What makes you different?

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Many financial advisors struggle with the challenge of how to differentiate themselves from their competition. There are many areas in which you can show how you’re different, however, such as your vision, service model, ideal client profile, investment philosophy, client service process and organizational structure.

Here are some questions to get you thinking about what makes you different:

1.     What niche market(s) do you specialize in? (e.g., dentists who own their own practices)

2.     Which areas of expertise or life stage do you specialize in? (e.g., retirement income distribution, divorce planning)

 3.     What types of services do you offer that the average financial advisory firm does not?

4.     How is your fee structure different from other firms’?

5.     How is your investment philosophy different from other advisory firms’?

6.     What is the size and structure of your business? (e.g., national firm, team, solo)

7.     What specialized education or designations have you or your employees received?

8.     How is your service model different from other firms’? (e.g., “We have a service model that grows as a person’s career grows from their first job to retirement.”)

9.     What is your reputation in the community?

10.     What is your firm’s culture?

11.     What results do you achieve for your clients that are different from other firms’?

Once you have answered these questions, whittle down your differentiators to those that make the most difference for your clients. While it’s good to understand all the ways you’re different, you’ll be most effective if you can focus on just one. Then, communicate that difference over and over again.

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Kristen Luke is the principal of Wealth Management Marketing, a firm dedicated to providing marketing strategies and support for registered investment advisory firms. For more information, visit


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