Demonstrating value in an age of distrust
With so much discussion in the public sphere of late around conflicted remuneration and vertical integration models, financial advisers are under more pressure than ever before to transparently illustrate their value to existing and potential clients.
Your client value proposition (CVP) is a statement that succinctly informs potential clients of the specific benefits that your business provides and the points of difference with its competitors, to help potential clients with the decision-making process. Think of it as a resume for your business.
A clearly communicated CVP is a critical tool for helping to showing your worth to clients. It also serves as a simple conversion vehicle on an advice practice’s website.
A good CVP is well thought out, providing some insight into the business and what it stands for. It is likely to engage more if it is targeted at a specific audience rather than society in general. It should also avoid meaningless motherhood statements like, “We work hard to keep our clients happy”. The CVP is often the first impression of a business that potential clients receive.
Creating a client value proposition
A key point to note in relation to the creation of a CVP is to focus on the benefits to the client rather than the features of your service offering. The language of the CVP should be concise, transparent and simple to understand. It should also be aimed squarely at your target audience.
Identify your target audience
Before creating a CVP, it is necessary to have a complete understanding of your client base and the capabilities of your business to service the needs of that group. It might even be worthwhile conducting some research, such as an online survey, to ensure that you have a complete picture of your clients’ financial goals, dreams and fears.
Be realistic. We would all love to have a client book brimming with high-net-worth individuals but this simply isn’t the case for most advisers. Instead, focus your energy on maximising the acquisition and retention of clients that are appropriate for your business given its size, resources, location and your areas of expertise.
Consider who your favourite clients are and why. Is there a commonality between them? They might share particular values or goals or perhaps they have an investment need that you are particularly well placed to service. This is the group that you should have in mind when you write your CVP.
Describe the benefits of what you do
The important thing to remember when discussing the benefits of the services and solutions that your business provides is to describe how they are different to those of your competitors.
Highlight the value that your services bring to your clients by matching your solutions to the client needs that you identified in your target audience. Explain how you will help clients overcome their problems and meet their financial goals.
It is also important to convey why potential clients should place their trust in you as their financial adviser. You might highlight your commitment to accountability and meeting compliance and/or professional standards, for example.
Don’t fall into the trap of filling your CVP with empty statements without backing them up. For example, if you want to state that you operate a privately-owned business, explain why this is important. On the other hand, ensure that your CVP is realistic so that you are actually able to deliver on its promises. The most profitable and rewarding client relationships are those that last long term, so you want to be careful not to over promise and under deliver.
Make the emotional connection
Lots of people say they are good at what they do or can provide certain services differently compared with a competitor, but what will help you truly stand out is if you explain ‘why you do what you do’. If this can be conveyed in a manner that a client can connect to, then you are more than likely to convert the potential client to an actual client.
Eugene Ardino is CEO of privately owned advice firm Lifespan Financial Planning, which oversees a network of more than 160 authorised representatives.
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