Strategy 4: Articulate Your Value Promise
The affluent have a huge range of choices about where and how they obtain their financial services and products. With approximately 400,000 financial advisors practicing today, your major challenge is to stand out in a very crowded marketplace. To rise above the crowd, you must be able to communicate why you are the best-qualified financial advisor for your niche and why potential clients should choose you from all the rest.
In Strategy 4: Articulate Your Value Promise, you will take two important actions that will entice ideal prospective clients to work with you:
Clearly express your value promise. You need to be able to provide a precise, succinct and compelling description of the clients you serve, how you serve them and how they benefit. Clearly articulating your value promise will also provide an easy first step for prospective clients to explore working with you. Your statement of your value promise will position you as the go-to financial advisor for members of your niche community. When they think of financial advisors, they will think of you.
Share your personal story. Your unique, heartfelt narrative of the reasons behind why you care so much about serving your clients extremely well will set you even further above your competitors. Crafted well and told sincerely, your personal story will set the stage for an emotional bond between you and your clients that few other financial advisors can match
When you take these steps, prospective clients will find that they naturally want to know more about you. With the simple yet elegant power of your words and your story, you will stand well apart from your competitors.
Your Value Promise
As a wealth manager, your value promise is clear: You help people make smart decisions about their money to help them achieve what is most important to them.
Being able to succinctly articulate your value promise will enable you to capture huge opportunity when the moment is brief. You will state your value promise whenever people ask, “What do you do?” Instead of replying with a plain-vanilla “I’m a financial advisor” or “I’m a wealth manager,” your answer will spark sincere interest in members of your niche community and motivate them to explore working with you.
It’s critical to be able to clearly articulate your value promise at any time and in any social setting. We recommend a simple, three-part template for expressing your compelling value promise.
Part one: who you serve and how they benefit
The first part of your value promise statement will answer the question you hear wherever you engage in conversation—at cocktail parties, community events, at the gym, on the golf course: What do you do?
Reply with this:
"I help (my niche) (big benefit you deliver)."
Here are some examples of effective responses:
“I help high-tech executives make work optional.”
“I help busy entrepreneurs make informed decisions about their money so they can spend more time focusing on growing their businesses.”
“I give retirees in our community peace of mind.”
If you are unsure of the unique benefit you deliver to members of your niche, answer these questions:
What business am I in?
Who are the ideal affluent clients that I serve?
What are the special needs of my ideal affluent clients?
With whom do I compete for the business of my ideal clients?
What makes me different from my competitors?
What is the single most important value I provide to my ideal clients that they can receive nowhere else?
Part two: how you work
You will know that the first part of your value promise resonates with listeners when they ask, “Wow, how do you do that?”
Answer with this:
"I/we use (my process)."
“We use a comprehensive process to help our clients address each of their five key concerns: making smart decisions about their money, mitigating their taxes, taking care of their heirs, making sure their assets are not unjustly taken and magnifying their charitable gifts. We work with a network of professional advisors to help our clients maximize the probability of achieving everything that is most important to them.”
Part three: how to explore further
At this point, it has taken less than 15 seconds to communicate your compelling value and to position yourself as an authority in addressing the needs of your niche community. Interested listeners will follow up by asking, “How would I find out more about this?”
Here you will reply with your call to action: the specific step you would like the listener to take next. We recommend that you describe it like this:
“I’d be happy to meet with you for what we call our Discovery Meeting. We’ll look at where you are and where you’d like to be and identify any gaps. We’ll evaluate whether your current providers are doing a good job and, if so, we’ll let you know. We only take on a limited number of clients for whom we can have a significant impact, but if we’re the right team for you, we’ll let you know. If we’re not, we’ll refer you to someone else who can take great care of you. It takes about 90 minutes. Would you like to schedule a Discovery Meeting?”
Making Your Personal Story Part of Your Value Promise
In the next part of this strategy, you will learn how to craft a compelling personal story that will create an emotional connection with clients and prospective clients. As you will see, you may have an opportunity to share your personal story as part of your value promise.
If you and a prospective client are in a situation where you have time to engage in a more extended conversation, it may be appropriate to incorporate your personal story. Do so right after you describe the Discovery Meeting, but before you ask whether he or she would like to schedule the meeting.
Perfecting Your Value Promise
Although our template is simple, creating a truly compelling and effective value promise is not automatically easy. Use these guidelines to compose and deliver a flawless message:
Keep it brief. More is absolutely not better. Answer just the basic questions: what you do, who you serve, how you serve them and what the listener should do next. Any further details will detract from your message. You should be able to fully express your value promise in no more than 30 seconds.
Make it all about the listener. Your message should be centered on how your clients benefit from working with you—a core challenge you solve for them or a clear goal you help them achieve. Do not dwell on the activities you engage in to deliver the benefit.
Make it believable. You must speak from a place of confidence and passion to be believable. Your value promise statement should not just be a checklist of what, who and how, but a statement of the most important values you bring to your calling as a financial advisor. If you do not feel confident and enthusiastic as you deliver your message, you don’t yet have the right one.
Avoid jargon. You will not impress your listeners with technical terms or buzzwords; you will only risk intimidating them and discouraging them from asking questions. Your value promise is about the listener, not you. Use plain, clear, everyday language.
Script it. To be convincing, you must sound spontaneous and natural. Every performer knows that the key to appearing spontaneous is actually careful scripting and rehearsal. So put your value promise statement in writing and read it out loud at least 10 times. Then refine it by cutting extraneous words and swapping out any words that do not flow easily. Repeat as many times as needed until you arrive on a script that sounds completely natural to you.
Practice, practice, practice. You want your words to be second nature so that you can fully focus on the listener and your body language, intonation and eye contact. So script in hand, deliver your value promise statement to your CEG Worldwide coach, your team members, friends, associates and spouse—everyone who is familiar with your business and who can provide informed feedback. Make any final refinements to the script and then memorize it.
Your Personal Promise
Your value promise will motivate qualified prospective clients to consider entering your wealth management process. But it is only the first step in building trusted, long-term relationships with these individuals. To connect on a deeper, more meaningful level with affluent clients, you must be able to tell your personal story. By opening up to others about what is important to you, your listeners become much more inclined to trust you with what is important to them. Your story makes you real and believable to them.
Keep in mind that affluent individuals frequently base a decision to acquire new financial services or engage a new financial advisor on emotion. They then justify their decisions with logic. So your offer must be perfectly logical, but you must also make an emotional connection so that they like you and want to work with you. Sharing your story will be your avenue for doing so.
In working with the most successful financial advisors around the world, we have seen how storytelling has allowed them to rise above the competition and connect with the right affluent individuals. You can become a great teller of your personal story as well.
Writing Your Story
Many people believe that they do not have a story worth telling or that would interest others. Be assured that every one of us has a story that will move others.
To uncover your compelling story, you need to first recognize the crucial events and people that most shaped who you are today. In the following exercise, we will help you identify those key elements and then help you weave them together into a compelling story.
To begin to find your story, ask yourself these questions:
Who has influenced your belief systems? As you reflect, you may notice that there are some people you moved toward, others you moved away from and still others you moved against. What was it that you saw or felt in those relationships that caused you to rethink how you would act in the future?
Which events have moved you the most? These can be personal experiences, such as the birth or death of a family member, repairing a lost friendship, falling in love, sharing a secret, or standing up to a boss or a parent. They can also be external events, like an economic downturn or a natural disaster. How did these experiences and events shift your worldview?
What have been your valleys? Your story should report not just successes, but also danger, remorse and your big mistakes. The more difficulty you faced, the greater the triumph when you succeeded. All our lives are filled with peaks and valleys. The story often lies in how you came out of the valleys.
After reflecting on these questions, begin to put your story down on paper. Take these steps:
In two to three paragraphs, write your story about why you chose to become a financial advisor. As you write, keep in mind that this story is less about why you chose this profession and more about who you are as a person.
Now dig deeper. What is it about your story that really shows the essence and spirit of who you are? Write this down in one or two sentences.
Describe a single event that was a turning point for you in your decision to become a financial advisor.
Explain what is was about this event that made it a turning point. What was at stake?
Describe what you did immediately after this event.
Recount the result or outcome of your actions following the event.
Now write your story again, capturing the most intense moments and feelings from what you wrote above. Make it come alive with this intensity. You will now have a draft of your story.