Everyone wants to save money. Cutting out the middleman seems a fine place to start. Robo-advisors, no load funds and online trading provide a roadmap. Yet “We insert a human between the client and the computer and charge the client 1% annually” isn’t a winning advertising slogan. You are the human. How do you communicate the value you bring to the relationship?
Clients probably prefer working with a human employed by a large firm because the firm has deep pockets. If something goes wrong, the client can blame the human and ask the firm for compensation. Through the “Know your customer” rule, firms do financial planning, establish risk tolerances, monitor asset allocations and confirm risk tolerances to level the playing field.
How Do You Articulate Your Value?
Seriously speaking, you need to make a compelling case for the value you bring to the relationship. Your reasons must be translatable into numbers and verifiable. You can’t say: “We are the best” or “People trust us” without some way to prove it. Your reasons must also be benefits. The client must see how doing business with you is a step up. How does this unique characteristic improve their relationship?
Value – The Firm Has a Story to Tell
Let’s assume you work for a bank, wire house firm or an insurance company. They are big. They have many branches. The first nine reasons focus on the firm.
1. People talk about it. You can make the case with numbers.
Value. “People trust us.”
How can you prove it? Quote assets under management. How many client accounts at the firm? How much in retirement assets? How many retirement accounts? I segmented out retirement assets because the prospect would feel that’s the money where you need to be most careful. How many years has the firm been in business?
Proof on paper: Your firm’s annual report should list assets under management, longevity and other helpful data. You can flip through the pages and point it out.
2. Very often, bigger really is better.
Value: We’re all over the place. You can get help when and where you need it.
How can you prove it? How many advisors? How many offices in the US?
Proof on paper: The annual report should list the number of advisors and officers. If not, the firm probably publishes a basic factsheet.
3. People want to do business with #1. They want the best.
Value: It’s a recognition of excellence from an independent third party.
How can you prove it? List several of the awards the firm has won. How many advisors made the Barrons Top 1,200 Financial Advisor list? Rankings from other institutions?
Proof on paper: The website for the publication listing award winners. Your firm’s own website should have an Awards tab.
4. People worry “Is my money safe? Will the firm go under?”
Value: Third party reinforcement from rating agencies.
How can you prove it? Firms are usually very proud of these rankings. Research reports issued by other firms often include these ratings.
Proof on paper: Show a research report or the page on the firm’s website listing ratings.
5. Global Presence. Clients travel. They invest internationally.
Value: If you find yourself having a problem and you are in London or Tokyo, we probably have an office there. We also have research analysts on the ground too.
How can you prove it? The annual report or the firm’s website should indicate the number of employees worldwide and the number of countries where the firm does business.
Proof on paper: The annual report or the firm’s website.
6. The client might do business with you, but they want the firm’s expertise.
Value: The firm has its own research department. These analyst’s work benefits the client.
How can you prove it? Quote the number of analysts. What cities are they based in worldwide? Talk about depth, number of companies covered.
Proof on paper: Your firm should issue a research factsheet. The firm’s website may have this information. Look for news stories connected to awards the firm has won.
7. Research Awards. The firm does it’s own research. Is it any good?
Value: Winning awards is third party recognition of quality.
How can you prove it? Do an internet search for awards the firm has won from trade organizations, industry publications and the financial press. Awards should also be accessible on the firm’s website.
Proof on paper: Show the website list or the awards list from the relevant publication.
8. Your firm likely spends an extraordinary amount of money. What do they get for it?
Value: Your technology spending often brings timely information to the client on whichever device they prefer.
How can you prove it? What has the firm done to protect the privacy of client information? Has it won awards for its social media presence? This shows “they get” social media.
Proof on paper: There should be some articles on your firm’s technology spending. They often come out when the firm awards a big contract. Check the news/press release section of your firm’s website. Do an Internet search for technology and your firm’s name.
9. Local Presence. How many years has your firm been in the community?
Value: Your firm has a commitment to this town.
How can you prove it? The office likely has a file of press clippings going back years. If not, it’s probably on the office website that comes up during Internet searches. Someone will know.
Proof on paper: Show the mention on the office website.
Value – The Advisor has a Story to Tell
The firm’s story is compelling, but you want them in a business relationship with you. We need more talking points.
10. You didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.
Value: They will be working with a credentialed professional.
How can you prove it? Have you earned a CFP? Other professional certifications? Have you taken advanced training organized by the firm at a university?
Proof on paper: You have certificates on your walls. Your business card might include initials after your name.
11. You didn’t start yesterday.
Value: This advisor has skills learned over time.
How can you prove it? How long have you been an advisor? How long have you been in the business? At the firm?
Proof on paper: You probably have anniversary plaques in the office. Your professional certifications should show the date they were earned.
12. You honor commitments.
Value: Many people value loyalty. They feel your loyalty to the firm means a long term commitment to them.
How can you prove it? How many years have you been with the firm? How long have you been married? Do you have children? What ages? How long have you lived in town?
Proof on paper: Anniversary plaques were mentioned earlier. You have framed family photos.
13. You aren’t a one man band.
Value: You bring additional resources to the client beyond yourself.
How can you prove it? Talk about your direct team. Introduce them. Talk about their experience. Talk about your virtual team, the specialists you can bring into the relationship.
Proof on paper: You probably have a chart with you in the center, connected to lots of boxes in a circle.
You have a baker’s dozen of reasons why the prospect should work with you. They are like tools in a tool chest. You don’t need them all for every job. Pick out a few that are appropriate for each situation.
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