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Advisors: Clients Want Outcomes, Not Deliverables

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Advisors: Clients Want Outcomes, Not Deliverables

If you want a powerful value proposition, talk about what your client wants to do, accomplish, or become. Describe a future state of being the client desires. This attraction is one of the reasons some advisors are drawn to the expression “we help our clients achieve peace of mind.” The client wants to see themselves in a position of not having to worry about their finances.

But many of the advisors we meet have a value proposition that is more about what they do rather than the outcome the client experiences. What you can do for a client is not what they are after. What you can do for a client is a means to an end. It is a way of getting the client to where they want to be. The value proposition is much stronger when it provides a vision of that destination.

A strong value proposition is not only critical for getting people interested in hearing about what you can do for them. It is also key for attracting referrals. If your clients describe what you do for them to their friends, it probably sounds a lot like what every other advisor does for clients. However, if you can teach your clients the language of what you help them accomplish, they may repeat some of that to their friends who are attracted to accomplishing the same things. That’s a much stronger referral.

It is a little bit of a paradox but when someone asks you what you do (assuming you might like to have a conversation with them about becoming a client) rather than respond with what you do, tell them where you can help them go.

You might be tempted to say you provide comprehensive planning. Or personalized guidance. Or wealth management services. You know that services like these can help the client get where they want to go but they may not be able to make the connection between the service and the destination. They may not know what wealth management is. They may not understand what goes into a comprehensive plan or how it can help them. What they know is that they want to get somewhere specific or they want a solution to a problem. You need to provide them some context. Help them connect the dots. Let them know that you can help them accomplish what they are looking for and then you’re in a position to explain what role your service plays in taking them there.

An even weaker way to introduce yourself is to describe what you are. I am a financial advisor. I am a wealth manager. Once again, most of the time we would need to help client make the necessary connections so that they can translate the engagement of someone like you with what they want to accomplish. Some professions can get away with just using the label and have it communicate everything they needed to. If someone has chest pain or passes out in a public place we know we want a doctor. We know enough about what a doctor does to know that when someone has a health crisis that’s the label we look for. Of course, there are many kinds of doctor and we may not even realize that the label may be insufficient. Funny story – I used to be a paramedic and would occasionally work auto races as a hobby. One night, working a 24 hour rally, I spent several hours in the back of an emergency vehicle with the race physician. At one point, to make conversation, I asked “what specialty are you?” anticipating emergency physician, orthopedist, or even internal medicine. “I am a pathologist” he replied. Someone who pretty much never treated living patients was probably not what the race organizers had in mind, but the MD after his name got him the job.

Financial advisors do not have the benefit of those kinds of assumptions. And so you need to help prospective clients understand the specific kind of future you can help them create to capture their interest and open the door to a longer conversation.

Your value proposition is not your deliverables. A comprehensive plan, a customized portfolio analysis, a retirement roadmap, and a personalized wealth management strategy are not what the client is looking for. They are tools you may use to help a client get where they want to go. When a couple visits a custom homebuilder they do not talk about hammers, saws, or even blueprints. They talk about the lifestyle that a unique home can provide them. Assuming they come to an agreement, there will be points during the relationship where they will review blueprints and renderings of the house they will build. But what they talk about upfront, what will attract those homebuyers to the builder, what will enable the company to persuade the customers to commit hundreds of thousands of dollars, is the experience of living in a particular environment they find appealing.

What kinds of outcomes can you help clients achieve?

They can be in the state of having made the right decisions

  • They can achieve some sort of freedom
  • They can be in retirement having made the right choices
  • They can maximize the special opportunities available to them (teachers, business owners, government workers, etc.)
  • They can be in an amazing retirement
  • They can be in a position to transition their business
  • They can have their assets protected against risks or outside interests
     

If you need to update your value proposition here are a few questions you can ask that will lead you in the right direction.

  • How will working with you change the client’s life?
  • How will they be different because they worked with you?
  • What is the object of the advice you provide? What are you guiding them on?
  • What will you help them accomplish?
     

What’s the best value proposition you have heard? Share a few ideas in the comments below and let’s see what inspiration we can draw from each other.

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