Name Recognition + Benefits = Brand. Why should people do business with you? If a client mentions you to a friend and they reply “Tell me about him. Is he any good?” What do they reply? If a person mentions your name in a social situation and says: “What do you know about her?” What would the answer be?
Your brand is your story. It’s Who you are, What you do and Why you are good. It’s a simple story. You tell it to people over time and they tell it to others. Consider this example:
Several months ago I was in the barber shop. I said hello to the head of the Board of Supervisors for our township. He is a highly visible person so most people know him. He asked the barber who I was and the barber told my story.
You can’t expect others to deliver your marketing statement in detail, but hopefully they will say: “That’s John Smith. He’s a broker a XYZ. He’s very good. You should get to know him.”
Your brand starts with name recognition. For this you need visibility in the community. This strategy suggests joining four different community organizations that give you the opportunity to meet wealthy people within your target market. If you meet six people per month at each of the four organizations, you will be meeting 288 wealthy people per year! That will start to get you name recognition.
What’s the Concept of a Brand?
Separating yourself from the pack is another good idea. After all, as a financial advisor, you are competing in a crowded field. There are other advisors from your firm in your area. There are similar firms that are direct competitors. You have non-traditional competition. You are all selling the same service – enabling a client to make investments to help reach their financial goals. The problem is you all look similar to the prospect. How do you differentiate yourself?
Let’s face it, you are not the first to encounter this problem. Consumer products have faced this for decades, if not centuries. Beer may look and taste alike. Toothpastes are similar. Sodas are similar. Remove the marques from cars and some are almost identical. To make them stand out in the mind of the consumer, brands were built around them.
The branding of consumer goods also enables the manufacturer to charge different prices for similar products. This is particularly important in the financial services business – you may be charging a higher price for similar products or services than a competitor on the same street. So how do you differentiate yourself?
It’s your responsibility to show how you add value to the relationship. Because consumer products or automobiles are branded by the manufacturer, you may be tempted to think this responsibility rests with the home office – those people who create advertising campaigns, etc.
Securities, unlike toothpaste or soda, are rarely bought off the shelf unaided. They are recommended and sold by financial advisors. The product that needs to be branded is you. You have to show your value to the prospect. It’s not the firm’s job to communicate the message.
Some financial advisors feel the qualities they bring to the relationship are “self-evident.” When asked: “What do I get for the fees I’m paying?” they are tempted to answer “You get me.” This may be an adequate answer within a long-standing advisor/client relationship, however you must do a better job communicating this information to the prospect. It’s not the prospect’s job to figure out the value you bring.
How do I Establish My Value?
First determine “What you do well.” Once you know, “What you are good at,” the task of establishing your value and building a brand becomes easier. Here’s your strategy:
Take whatever makes you different, state that as a benefit, and present it as something that makes you stand apart from other financial advisors.
Start by asking yourself three questions:
- What sets you apart? – Why are you unique? What do you do well? Do you do something other financial advisors don’t? Remember – These characteristics don’t need to be wildly different or “off the wall.” You can take a routine activity and position it to make you stand out from the competition.
- What are you lacking? – Nobody is perfect. To compete, you may need to add some additional skills or credentials. For example: Your competitors in the community may be Certified Financial Planners. Your target client (High Net Worth individuals) may respect this designation. This may be a skill or designation you need to achieve in order to compete better.
- How can you position your unique qualities? – You may have them, but prospects don’t know this fact. How will you communicate these qualities in business meetings? While conducting seminars? When asking clients for referrals in social situations?
This is an excerpt from Captivating the Wealthy Investor written by Bryce Sanders. The book is available on Amazon.
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