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Differentiating Yourself When All Advisors Sound Alike

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Differentiating Yourself When All Advisors Sound Alike

Clients like deep pocketed firms for obvious reasons.  In a world where many financial professionals (financial advisors, insurance agents, private bankers, financial planners) provide similar sounding services, it makes sense to sell your firm as a way to differentiate yourself from the pack.  But how do you do that?

How to Sell Your Firm Like it’s a Product

Advisors are taught to sell themselves to the prospect.  It might sound like: “If we work together, here’s what you can expect…”  The prospect just met you.  Why should they believe you?  What can you prove?  It makes sense to position the firm as a product, superior to competitors.  Once they see working with your firm is taking a step up, you become the person who will deliver the resources of the firm to them.    Let’s assume you work for a firm that’s publicly traded.   So, how do you sell the firm?

1. Integrity. It’s easier to quantify than you think.  “People trust us.”  Talk about years in business.  Assets under management.  Number of account relationships.  Number of individual retirement plans is good too.  Don’t forget corporate retirement plans.

So, prove it:  The parent company’s annual report probably has years in business and assets under management plainly stated.

2. Size. Bigger really is better.  Although they don’t talk about it, clients want to know if they’ve got a problem and they are on the other coast, they can walk into a local office and say:  “I’m a client.  Please help me.”  Talk about the number of offices nationwide and the number of advisors.

So, prove it.  These are numbers that should be easy to find in the company annual report.  That’s probably the ultimate compliance approved document!  You point it out.  The prospect can take it home with them.

3. Sell the firm by name. Although you work on the wealth management side of the firm, the annual report probably talks about the reach of the bank into everyday lives.  How many households do business?  How many small businesses?

So, prove it.  It’s another annual report reference.  However, your firm’s website probably lists big awards the parent company has won.  Is it the largest bank or wealth manager in the region?  Country?  World?

4. Global presence. Wealthy clients travel.  They may not have a problem on the other coast.  It may be another continent.  Assuming they travel to financial capitals, your firm likely has offices in many of them.  How many?  How many overseas employees.  They think about the French words for.  “I’m a client.  I have a problem…”

So, prove it.  The overview section of your firm’s website should talk about international offices.  The annual report might mention it too.

5. Research. This is often a differentiator.  How many analysts does the firm have?  How many stocks does it follow?  How many analysts are based overseas?  What’s the point of investing internationally if there’s no one on the ground in the local markets?

So, prove it.  Your firm likely puts out a one pager, available online talking about the depth quality of their research.

6. Awards. Some of the earlier points lead up to this one:  What awards has the firm won?  How about research awards?  How many advisors in the Barrons annual ranking of top advisors?  How many “Best of” awards from different publications?

So, prove it:  This is easy.  The firm’s website likely has an “Awards” tab.  If not, the “Press” tab should bring you to press releases issued when an award was won.  You can visit the website of the organization handout out the awards for proof to show your prospect.

7. Technology. What does your firm spend annually on technology? It’s probably a big number.  Show how the client is the beneficiary.  The object is to provide timely information on the device of their choice.

So, prove it:  If you are lucky, there’s a JD Power award they won for outstanding customer service.  This likely ties into technology.  If not, there’s probably a trade publication talking about the firm’s investment in technology.

8. Local presence. Sell the firm’s commitment to the community.  When was the first office in town opened?  This is a good counter to online firms without a brick and mortar presence.  It also counters competitors new on the scene.

So, prove it.  Your office likely has a branch office website.  They often have some “About” details talking about longevity in the area.

If you are an archer and this is your quiver, you aren’t shooting your prospect with all eight arrows.  You are selecting the two or three you think will make your case, knowing you’ve got more in reserve, if necessary.  You want your prospect to feel they are taking a step up, working with you.

Related: Social Prospecting: Does Anyone Else Know You’re an Advisor?

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