Financial Advisors’ Unique Value Propositions Aren’t Unique

The new Pershing Advisor Solutions study on “What Do Top Advisors Say And What Do Investors Really Think?” intrigued me.

The study – a survey of 600 investors with $1 million or more in assets – investigated their reactions to 29 of the most common value propositions found on the websites of Barron’s Top 100 Advisors.

How well do advisors differentiate?

They don’t. It turns out most Financial Advisors’ Unique Value Propositions Aren’t Unique.

Most investors in the study agreed. Advisors huddle together making common promises such as “develop a solution that meets your needs” or “we act in your best interests.” Not possible to tell them apart.

Now it’s time to ask, What’s a Unique Value Proposition anyway?

It is NOT attempting to be all things to all people. And it is NOT making the same statements as everyone else. It is one of a kind. Yet the majority of investors in the survey concluded that for advisors “Unique” is nowhere near Value Proposition.

Your Unique Value Proposition (your UVP) answers this question (in marketer Dan Kennedy’s words): “Why would anyone do business with you over everyone else in your field?”

Nail your answer and you free yourself from the pack.

First and foremost, to convince people you are different you need to be DIFFERENT.

Here’s how:

1 – Consider a Niche

I was caught by an article on CNBC online.

Jared Reynolds, CFP(R), son of a bass fisherman, developed a specialty of working with bass fishermen.

Beginning with one client he became an authority in this niche from his understanding of the fishermen’s special financial needs and their lifestyle. For example, prizes in competitions can reach $1 million.

My partner, Bob Hanson, encourages advisors to consider a niche with the idea that “you don’t have to commit to a niche for life.”

That’s exactly how Jared looks at this niche within his practice.

When I checked his website, I found that “part of his practice centers on the professional fishing industry.” He makes it clear that he also works with clients outside the industry.

2 – Connect with Emotions

The investors in the study were influenced by simple words (no jargon) that revealed emotion.

A client communicates his UVP in this tagline, or slogan: “Helping You Live the Life You Desire.”

These words aren’t empty. They are at the core of his practice. He explains, “We do not believe in isolating your finances from the fullness of your life. That’s why we encourage you to focus on areas more important than money (on your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being and on your personal relationships).

Each quarter when he meets with clients, he schedules time to talk about one of these areas in addition to going over the numbers.

3 – Highlight a Conservative Approach

The study found that many advisors underestimated the importance of “safety, integrity and accountability” to investors.

How about calling on investor wariness to complete your Unique Value Proposition?

A client describes his approach like this: “We believe the management of risk is of great importance. And that’s why we developed our ‘6-Step Process,’ to help to manage downside risk.”

Your UVP can be more . . . a whole lot more . . . than a niche, a tagline, and an explanation of your investment philosophy and process.

4 – Acknowledge Investors’ Skepticism and Suspicions

Advice about “How to Choose a Financial Advisor” is everywhere — from Forbes, U.S .News & World Report, Barron’s, the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, to seemingly thousands more with their warnings and lists.

First, build your strongest case with as many differentiating points as possible. Business coach Paul Lemberg urges businesses to uncover “10 must-haves.” Try for as many as you can implement.

Then, organize your “must-haves” in answer to a compelling question, which creates a framework for your key differentiating points.

The Question can be – Why Choose to Work With Us?

This one provides an opportunity to reveal your core values, business beliefs, planning process, and more.

The Question can be – What Makes Us Different?

Your question and answers add up to your Unique Value Proposition that’s truly matchless.

If you would like to talk about putting the “Unique” in your Value Proposition, give Bob Hanson a call at 617-901-6886

Yours for standing out as one of a kind,

Shirley Hanson

About Shirley Hanson

Co-Author "Marketing Power for Financial Advisors"
In 1991 Shirley Hanson co-founded the Hanson Marketing Group, a direct marketing firm. Since 2005 she has focused her work on helping financial advisors take advantage of the same strategies and tactics that high-growth firms count on year after year. Advisors are able to attract more of their ideal clients, reach a Category of One, and raise their production. She collaborates with advisors to unlock their vision for their practice sooner with less hassle.

Contact Shirley
Phone: 215-753-2620 | Fax: 215-754-4165
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