Creating your value proposition probably sounds like Marketing 101 to you. Defining your value proposition is likely one of the very first marketing tactics you accomplished when you started your business.
If you haven’t defined your value proposition yet, it is typically a concise sentence or two that articulates your unique competitive advantage and why a client should do business with you. Simply put, it communicates your unique value and why you do it best.
Building your value proposition, however, is not a “one and done” exercise. Revisiting your value proposition is paramount. As a matter of fact, it should be done on a routine basis. Not to suggest that you need to continually restructure your value proposition for no good reason, but reevaluating it on a yearly basis is a solid business practice.
Change Is Constant
As your business practice grows, the services you offer your clients expand, your service model may alter and your ideal client focus might slightly adjust.
Furthermore, both the state of the industry and technology are constantly changing. So with all of these variable changes, revisiting and reassessing your value proposition message is essential.
If you have, in fact, created your value proposition, ask yourself, does it still speak to your clients? Does it attract those prospects who are your ideal client type?
If you didn’t test your value proposition when you first established it, don’t feel bad, as many advisors miss this crucial step. However, there’s no time like the present to do so. Client impressions really are key. Do your current clients understand your value proposition and know the unique value you offer them?
Try constructing a short client impressions survey and send it to your top ten to fifteen clients who know you the best. They will likely give you the most honest feedback. You can mail or email the survey to them. You can also conduct short phone interviews or consider hiring a third-party consultant to conduct the survey if you believe it will garner the most candid feedback. Only you know what will work best for your clients.
The following are some questions to consider including, but think about incorporating some of your own as well.
- Do you know what my value proposition is?
- What values/ qualities come to mind when you think of me?
- Why did you choose to work with me?
- What do you believe makes me different from other financial professionals you have worked with?
- What might you tell a friend about me?
Assess the Feedback
After you’ve compiled the feedback, ask yourself if their responses indicated that they know what your value proposition is? Their answers should be very telling. If you don’t believe their answers are in line with your established value proposition, then it is time to rework it.
If their answers did align with your value proposition, congratulations! The feedback is still invaluable. Be sure to mark your calendar to retest your messaging annually.
What Sets You Apart?
Do you believe your value proposition really identifies what makes you unique? Does it set you apart from your competitors?
Research from a study published by Pershing indicates that 60% of clients find it hard to distinguish among financial advisors because their value propositions made similar promises. In other words, financial advisors are not distinguishing themselves from their competition and are missing on opportunities to promote to investors what truly makes them unique.
What Is Your Know-How?
If you haven’t already, take the time to honestly self-assess your specific know-hows. Reflect on and write down the answers to the following questions.
- What in your professional history makes you unique?
- What in your personal history makes you unique?
- What natural abilities do you possess?
- What abilities have you gained through education or training?
- Make a list of your top 5 unique abilities and rank them in order.
- What unique insight(s) do you have to offer your ideal client?
- What is the single most unique skill or trait you possess that your clients should know about you?
While it may take you some time to answer these questions, it will be time well spent. It will ultimately help you articulate the unique traits you possess, which will help you stand out in the marketplace to your clients and prospects.
Once you’ve refined your value proposition by incorporating what you have identified in your self-assessment, ask yourself if any other advisors can make the same claim. Then ask yourself if a prospect can find the unique promise you offer elsewhere.
It is imperative to detach yourself from what you know other financial advisors are doing. Your goal is to develop a value proposition that is uncommon.
Pershing’s research also points out that plain words beat fancy words when developing a value proposition. Said another way, avoid jargon and the common industry buzz words in your messaging.
The study also showed that emotional words trump rational words in value propositions. Words like “unwavering” and “passionate” were perceived better than words such as “committed” and “dedicated.”
The Bottom Line
If the data is true, then more than half of investors can’t differentiate among the crowd of advisors. If they can’t distinguish a compelling reason to choose you, then you risk losing them to another advisor who does stand out or, potentially, to a robo-advisor.
Once you’ve refined your value proposition and tested it with your clients, then use it! Reestablish it on your website, social media, print materials, presentations and anywhere else where opportunity exists. Show your clients and prospects that you are, in fact, unique.