How Do Your Clients Describe You?

There has been a lot of ink devoted to the importance of a financial advisor’s value proposition. But there may be something more important than how well it is written and how well it differentiates you.

As discussed in the Art Of The Referral, client referrals actually happen when a client’s friend asks for a referral or has a financial need. This is the moment of truth. When a friend, acquaintance, or business associate of a client expresses a need for your services, will you spring into your clients mind?

It is important that your value proposition describe what you do in a way that distinguishes you from other advisors and is meaningful and compelling to the people in your target market. It is just as important (maybe more important) how your client describes your unique value. At the moment of truth, will your client put together their friends need with the problems you are especially skilled at solving, and remember to refer them to you?

You know that I advocate engaging your best clients through an advisory board to discuss what they most value about your services. That’s the best way to know how they describe you and to get their guidance in refining a value proposition. But there are other ways to find out how they describe your value. You can uncover it in a client survey, or by incorporating a question or two into your client meeting agendas.

Once you uncover how your clients describe your most important value to them, you may need to work with a few select clients adjusting it. While you want it to remain in their words, you may want to emphasize specific services or an investment style. Continue to work with your clients so that you project the right message, and any adjustments continue to ring true to them.

Finally, the polished value proposition needs to be communicated back to clients. You can publish it in a client newsletter.  You can incorporate it into a brief discussion of the clarified statement at the end of appointments:  “We have been working to focus on providing [type of services] to [type of clients].  If you have any suggestions on how we can do that better, we would appreciate your help.” 

Devote some attention to educating clients on how to describe your value, and referrals will come much more naturally.

1 Comment

  1. Mark ColganJanuary 10, 2011

    Good advice Steve. Readers might also want to look at Leo Pusateri's work…he is a remarkable expert in this area:


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