As Steve Jobs said, ‘Don’t do something better, do it different’. Facebook wasn’t necessarily ‘better’ than Myspace, it was different. Netflix wasn’t ‘better’ than any other movie-rental system – it was different. Make yourself authentic and you will succeed. Find out what it is that differentiates you from the competition and communicate it to prospects and clients.
Concentrate on developing superb soft skills and you will stand out in a crowded marketplace without trying to be ‘better’ than anyone else.
Stand out with a ‘who I am’ story
Prospects find it difficult to differentiate between financial advisors – they all look the same, dress the same and sound the same. So, when you first meet with prospects make yourself memorable by revealing your personality and values.
Get across that you care more than other advisors. Develop a story that demonstrates your commitment to your profession and to your clients. Give an example of a time when you helped a client achieve their life’s ambitions.
If you became a financial advisor because you love to help people, get this across – perhaps you saw someone suffer financial loss and this determined you on your career path? If you can get prospects to empathize with you, they will remember you when they leave your office.
For help creating your ‘who I am’ story and other essential stories, read Annette Simmons’ terrific book, ‘Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins’.
Differentiate yourself by creating an ideal client profile
You can’t excel in all areas – to succeed you need to find your niche market. Identify your ideal client profile by looking at the people you currently work with. What kind of people do you like to do business with? What characteristics do they have? Are they people planning for retirement, or younger couples seeking to save for college fees?
What are their interests and where do they live? Aim to get as granular as possible. What do you have in common with these people, perhaps a shared background in education or medicine?
Once you’ve drawn up a list of features write them down on a single piece of paper. Have this ‘resume’ ready to hand out at opportune moments. This is a clever way to break the ice with potential clients – and it will get you noticed.
Become the ‘go to’ advisor in a certain sector
If you decide to work only with people who fit your ideal client profile you will build up extensive experience in that sector. Over time the word will get out and clients will know you are the ‘go to’ advisor in their area. Your reputationwill differentiate you from the competition without the need to work hard at being ‘better’.
Be different by offering a personalized service
How many other advisors constantly exceed their clients’ expectations? Not many. If you can offer a level of service that goes above and beyond, you will differentiate yourself in your clients’ eyes. They will begin to feel that you are invaluable to them – a positive force in their lives that they can’t replace.
Make it your aim to communicate clearly and often with clients. Be prepared to counter their fears when market conditions are rough. Take the time to fully understand their goals. In so doing you will be providing a level of service that most other advisors don’t.
The size of your paycheck is based upon your ability to build and maintain long-term relationships with clients – if you need help mastering the skills needed for that, check the mp3 compilation, Mastering Client Relationships: What Elite Advisors Do.
There will always be someone ‘better’ or ‘smarter’ than you so don’t spend your time comparing yourself to the competition. If you’re constantly watching what everyone else is doing, you’ll end up just like everyone else. To stand out from the pack, you must be different – not better. Be authentic, take a different approach to marketing – and offer a personalized service unlike any other.
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