Is It Time to Throw Out Your Value Proposition?

Is It Time to Throw Out Your Value Proposition?

Value Propositions as they are typically created usually do not work.

Why? Because they don’t convey anything memorable or valuable when you use them, and mostly equate to you speaking to yourself (about yourself). And that’s the problem – it’s not about what the OTHER person actually cares about.

The problem has been defined by a study done by pershing and multiple articles written on the topic. The Pershing study found that “the strongest value propositions combine four distinct elements: attributes of the firm, benefits to the client, a rational argument, and an emotional component.

I would suggest that there is one more key to really having a memorable statement. It is sharing that you have worked with someone like them and thus understand their situation. Most people think that their situation is completely unique, but the advisors are all the same. This is a powerful credibility builder.

When creating what we call a Simple, Repeatable, Statement of Value (SRSV), it may seem obvious, but the key is to think about the other person. The other person needs to see him or herself in your statement and find it to be of interest to them.

Most descriptions include the things that everyone does followed by the fact that you do it for everyone. A better way may be to have a pocketful of SRSV statements that you can draw upon to engage just the person you’re talking with. Focus on the ‘who’ you work with (it helps of course if you have an idea of who they are – ask them first) and on the benefits of the work you do.

Actual Verbal SRSV statement:

I’m a financial advisor and we work with individuals getting ready to retire. In fact, we’ve helped more than 60 people retire successfully from your company, Abbott Labs.

When you make it about the other person, the results are markedly better! Make it about THEM!

Maribeth Kuzmeski
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Dr. Maribeth Kuzmeski is President of the consulting firm Red Zone Marketing, Inc founded in 1994. Maribeth and her firm personally consult with some of the nation’s top fin ... Click for full bio

Retirement Planning Has Its Limits: How to Prepare

Retirement Planning Has Its Limits: How to Prepare

Retirement planning is one of the issues that commonly leads clients to consult financial advisers. One of its essential aspects is creating a plan to save and invest in order to provide a comfortable retirement income. Ideally, this starts many years ahead of retirement, even as early as your first paycheck.

As retirement comes closer, planning for it expands to take in a host of other considerations, such as deciding when to retire, where to live, and what kind of lifestyle you hope to have. When retirement becomes a reality, the focus shifts to carrying out the plan.

All of this planning is crucial. Yet, for both financial advisers and clients, it's good to keep in mind that planning has its limits. In the post-retirement years, it may be helpful to think in terms of preparing for old age rather than planning for it.

The older we get, the more important this distinction between planning and preparing becomes. Too many life-changing things can happen without regard to our best-laid plans. Often they occur unexpectedly, resulting in emergency situations where urgent decisions have to be made. A stroke or a fall, a diagnosis of terminal illness, a broken hip that leaves someone unable to go back to independent living—and suddenly, right now, the family needs to find an assisted living facility, arrange for live-in help, or sell a home.

What are some of the ways to prepare for these contingencies?

  • Explore housing options well ahead of time. Find out what assisted living, home care, and nursing home services and facilities are available where you live and whether they have waiting lists. Have family conversations about possibilities like relocating or sharing households.
  • Research the financial side of these options. Investigate the cost of hiring help at home, assisted living facilities, and nursing care centers. Find out what is and is not covered by Medicare and long-term care insurance. For example, people are sometimes surprised to learn that Medicare does not pay for nursing home care other than short-term medical stays.
  • Designate someone to take over decision-making, and do the paperwork. Execute documents like a living will, medical power of attorney, and contingent power of attorney. Update them as necessary, and give copies to your doctors, your financial planner, and appropriate family members.  
  • Start relatively early to downsize. Well before you're ready to let go of possessions or move into smaller housing, start considering what to do with your "stuff." Focus on the decisions rather than the distribution. There's no need to get rid of possessions prematurely, but decide what you want to do with them—and put in writing. Do this while it's still your choice, rather than something your family members do while you're in the hospital or nursing home
  • Do your best to practice flexibility and acceptance. No matter how strongly you want to live in your own home until the end of your life, for example, it may not be possible. The physical limitations of aging can limit our choices, and even the best options available may not be what we would like them to be. It is a profound gift to yourself and your family members to accept these realities with as much grace as you can muster.

Finally, please don't underestimate the importance of planning financially for retirement. Because the bottom line is that you can't plan for all the things that might happen as you age, but you can prepare to deal with them. One of the most useful tools to cope with those contingencies is having enough money.

Rick Kahler
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Rick Kahler, MSFP, ChFC, CFP is a fee-only financial planner, speaker, educator, author, and columnist.  Rick is a pioneer in integrating financial planning and psycholog ... Click for full bio