Financial advisers genrally struggle to create a value proposition that accurately expresses how they work differently, or what makes them special compared to others.
It isn’t that they don’t have points of difference, or that they struggle to put ideas into words…generally they are very good at both. Each adviser has a unique way of interacting with customers, and maintains relationships a little differently, and has slightly different views of how and where product solutions fit in, and what the relative strengths and weaknesses of different strategies are.
Despite that, a room full of advisers when working through the process of trying to articulate their value proposition, almost always come up with the same line of thought (and often use the exact same words) to try and describe themselves and their businesses. It ends up sounding something like this:
“you should do business with me because I am honest, trustworthy and a nice person. I care about people and am very good at my job. I am clever and have qualifications and you will have peace of mind if you work with me”
This is the very simple summary of the typical statement advisers first come up with – as a customer might hear it.
So what’s wrong with it? Well, pretty much everything….So let’s pull it apart.
1. Honest, trustworthy, etc…these personal attributes are simply expected. There is no value-add here – customers expect this as a minimum standard of integrity.
2. Nice person…of course you are. If you weren’t you would have no customers, in fact, you’d have no business if you had no ability to relate well to others and be a decent human.
3. I care….well, once again, you are expected to aren’t you? If you did not actually care about others you would not be in a profession of trust where an essential component is the ability to think of the other persons objectives and be willing to work with them to get them the results they want.
4. I’m clever & have qualifications, etc….of course you do. Otherwise you shouldn’t be in the business of advising people about money.
5. You will have peace of mind. NOW….the big problem with this is no customer actually believes it, and not very many advisers can actually deliver it.
So let’s recap….5 parts to the typical value proposition statement designed by most advisers and 4 of them are “hygiene factors”, and one is frankly unbelievable in the minds of the customers. By “hygiene factor” I mean it is a given in the customers mind…as in any hospital will be hygienic. It is not in itself a point of difference for hospitals as it is a minimum expectation that goes with providing medical facilities.
The core objective is simple with a value proposition: articulate the benefit to the client that cannot be obtained from someone else.
Here are some general areas where advisers can be exceptional and unique, and are able to do something which customers value:
These are just examples to highlight that creating a value proposition is not about you. It is about the end result for the customer – something they will value.
You might also be interested in this related article: