Why a client or prospect should do business with YOU, instead of anyone else.
Your competitive advantage comes from “deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value,” according to Professor Michael Porter. “Strategies may center on low-cost leadership, technical uniqueness, or focus.”
Of course, it’s not about simply being “different,” - that difference must deliver value.
The more value you deliver contrasted to your competitors, the more unique you will be. Value must be in the eyes of the client.
You will always be one of at least several advisors offering what you offer. Take these five actions to be in the top percent of your marketplace:
Build your business based on a set of processes such as the “Six Core Client Facing Processes” discussed throughout the book, The Financial Advisor’s Success Manual, and shown in Chapter 3.
Offer the full range of solutions your client set wants and needs. Especially critical is to be a financial planning-based practice offering as many of the 55 components as the client requires and as shown in Chapter 1.
Exceed client expectations by providing the ambience, service, and value they require. This includes a written Client Service Model or Promise as shown in Chapter 3.
Communicate in a consistent manner and personalize your deliverables to your client based on highly effective CRM usage. This includes being a “money coach” to an inter-generational family.
Be part of a multi-talented team that serves the client as a cohesive unit based on a common culture and value system.
These are core requirements for success. They are the basic cost of entry into today’s and tomorrow’s advisory business, though they may not make you 100% unique...
Narrow your competition by offering your services and solutions to a specific niche.
For example: “business owners” is not a niche, it’s too broad.
“Plumbers or electricians in a geographic area” can be a niche if there are enough of them.
If you are in Cincinnati, perhaps “individuals retiring from Proctor and Gamble” can be a niche. Proctor and Gamble executives can be a niche. Airline pilots may be a niche, though it could be more specific as in “Delta Airline pilots based in Atlanta.”
Be prepared to offer unique value to your niche, but don’t be surprised if you are not the only advisor seeking those niches.
Here’s the good news:
An advisor only needs 50 to 150 clients at most to have a “successful” business. “Success” is by your definition. They can be million-dollar clients or ten million-dollar clients. You can have a team of 2 or 20 or 200.
Remember what Sam Silverstein calls the Law of Fractional Advantage: “All you need to do to win at anything is to be slightly better than your competition.” Be your best possible in all the areas noted above.
Kenichi Ohmae states, “If you are fighting with a competitor who has equal qualifications, effective and persistent execution in critical functional areas may be the only differentiating factor.” Note that “80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting yet, 44% of sales reps give up after 1 follow-up.”
If you are great at what you do, if you have a niche, and especially if you build relationships...you should be successful.
“When all else is equal, I make the difference.”
Be clear and convinced of the value you deliver to your clients.
Pricing Integrity says: “... at the core of pricing inconsistency we find that advisors are not fundamentally convinced that they provide significant value to their clients”.
Studies conclude that up to 90% of the decisions we make are based on emotion. We use logic to justify our actions to ourselves and to others. In your client acquisition efforts, take note that emotion will almost always prevail over logic, and imagination will almost always prevail over reality.