Separate Yourself From Other Advisors By “Productizing”

Face it – what most of us do for clients is indistinguishable from what other advisors do for clients, at least from the clients’ perspective. Claiming that we provide great customer service, financial planning, or adherence to the fiduciary standard won’t work. So, how can you differentiate yourself? One effective way is to “productize” your offering. Document your process, define what problem it solves and for whom, and package it as a single deliverable.

Here are a few examples:

To productize your offering, first decide what issues it will address. Will it be oriented to risk management, college savings, retirement planning, a major life event like the loss of a loved one or a divorce, or some aspect of investment management? Identify what you will help clients work through and what the result will be at the end of the process.

Determine the outcomes and deliverables of your service. If it involves financial planning, decide what components of the plan will be fundamental. List what kinds of analysis you will perform. Decide what you will deliver and how it will look. Will it be a plan, ongoing reports, personalized page on a website, or a report? Will this be something that is delivered once during your relationship with the client, or is it an ongoing service? If it is ongoing, how frequently will you deliver it to the client?

Give everything a consistent look. The plan you deliver, any ongoing reports the client receives, the worksheets you use during the process, and the marketing material to promote the process should be named and design so that it is clear it all belongs to a cohesive system.

Once it is complete, give it a compelling name. If it is descriptive, a list can work well (our 10 point…, Our seven step…). If you can come up with something more like a brand name, consider trademarking. Whichever way you go, the point is to offer people something brief and memorable. If you have done it effectively, you can mention the name of your service to someone who is in your target market and they will ask you to tell them more about it. People will not remember everything about the description of your process or the steps involved in it, but they may remember the name. Once they have that in their memory, it gives them something quick and interesting to mention to other people.


  1. Alan SMarch 7, 2012

    Totally agree – Dan Sullivan has been advising this approach for years. AT my firm we offer FutureMap and Intelligent Investing – both trademaked

  2. David Beck, CFP(R)March 9, 2012

    As a fee-only planner in a market that refreshes every year (i.e. very few long term clients), I recognized the need for efficiency in delivering my service. So I 'productlzed' it along the lines Steven suggests. It's called the '7 Steps to College', a series of one-hour consultations on college planning a seven points in the process. To follow up with the product idea, I have put the material on the web as a DIY course – the College Money Course – at
    The shorter the lifespan of the client relationship the more you need a 'product'.

  3. Stephen WershingMarch 9, 2012

    Great job, Alan and David! Thanks for sharing your experiences.


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