What’s the climax of your value proposition?


In the movie When Harry Met Sally Meg Ryan asserts to Billy Crystal that women can fake their orgasm well enough that the man would never know whether or not they were really feeling it. Crystal doesn’t believe her, so she proceeds to demonstrate for him, clutching the table, moaning and yelling to a horrified Crystal right there in the diner. The punchline is delivered by a woman sitting at another table, too far to have heard the conversation building up to it but plenty close to hear the commotion. She waves to a nearby waitress and says “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Is that the response you get when you tell someone your value proposition or one of your clients describes what you do to someone else? (I mean the other woman in the diner, not Ryan writhing and screaming. Although if you get Meg Ryan’s reaction please call me because I’ll pay you to teach me what you tell people.)

So often when I hear an advisor describe what they do it is a recitation of facts and services. Informative but not very exciting. The whole point of having a value proposition you can tell people is to make them excited about what you can do for them. Not to understand what you do but to understand how they would be better off by working with you. Something that provokes their interest. When your client tells a friend about you, the response you want them to have is “I’ll have what she’s having.”

When someone asks you what you do, do you say “I’m a financial advisor” or “We work with pre-retirees on their retirement plans”? Or do you tell them how your target clients’ world is changed because of the special skill or experience you provide? When your clients refer their friends to you, do they say “we really like our advisor, we have had a good experience with her, she provides us good service”? Or do they say “we are so lucky to have found our advisor – we did not think we would ever find someone who could have done this for us, and it is exactly what you just were describing. You HAVE to call her so she can do it for you, too.”

According to Julie Littlechild your clients refer you about 15 times more often than you realize. I believe the reason is because your clients talk about you like that first example. If they described their relationship more like the second example, that is, essentially grabbed the table and shouted praises about what you had done for them, I bet a lot more of those people would call you to say “I’ll have what she’s having.”

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