How to Claim You are #1 and Prove It

People want to do business with the best.  Think about friends talking about their medical conditions.  “My surgeon is the best in the country.  My hospital was ranked Number 1 for (illness) treatment.”

“We are Number 1. You should do business with us.”  It’s a claim we would all like to make.  It’s misused so much, people are immediately suspicious.  How can you legitimately claim to prospects and clients you are at the top of the pile?

Twelve Ways to Claim the Number 1 Position

Start by thinking in “possessive terms.”  This means you saw “We are Number 1.”  Your firm name is on your business cards.   You can piggyback on their achievements.  Regardless of the category, you must be prepared to prove it.  Even volunteer the rationale.

1. Industry magazine recognition.  There are many publications reporting on the global financial services industry.  They do annual surveys of readers.  Maybe they crunch numbers.   They hold an awards dinner, handout trophies and report the results in their magazine.  At the top of all the categories, there’s often the “Number 1 Investment Bank” or the “Nunber 1 Financial Services Firm.”  Your firm won.

Prove it.  When your firm wins, there are press releases.  It’s a big deal.  You can access the magazine online and show the list of awards to your prospect.

2. Awards won.  Your firm didn’t get the top spot, but there are plenty of other awards handed out.  You firm won several.  If they won more than another firm, they were the most awarded firm.  If your firm didn’t win in one magazine’s rankings, check other magazines.

Prove it.  Same as above.  Press releases.  Access the magazine’s website.

3. Recognition on the local level.  This might be under the radar.  Your local daily newspaper likely runs a “Reader’s Choice” competition.  There are dozens of categories.  These include restaurant, hair salons, printers, banks and financial services firms.  Your local office was an available choice in a category.  They won.

Prove it.  This is local.  Get a banner made up.  Include the newspaper’s name and logo.  Have a copy of the article listed winners framed and on display.  Buy several copies of that issue.

4. Longevity in business.  Being in business a long time implies you are successful.  Put another way, you didn’t go out of business.  Many firms are the result of many mergers.  How far back does your firm trace it’s origin.  If you are the oldest in the country, it’s something to be proud to announce.

Prove it:  It’s in the “About” section on your company website.  It should be on stock profile sheets issued by research departments.  It might be on your firm letterhead, “Since 1914.”

5. Years in the local market.  This requires some research.  Online firms are “new to the market” in relative terms.  They might have a nice storefront on Main Street, but what’s their commitment to the community?  You might find your firm opened it’s first local branch in the 1940’s and has been helping local residents for 75 years.  That shows commitment.

Prove it:  You will need to do some research, but it’s worth it.  Local wealthy business owners are usually cheerleaders for the local economy.

6. Assets under management.  This should be in your firm’s annual report.  Based on this yardstick, are they the biggest investment firm in the world?  How about the United States?  Large levels of assets implies  “people trust us.”

Prove it:  Like the “league tables” referenced above, magazines measure firms in terms of client assets. 

7. Retirement assets under management.  Maybe your firm isn’t the biggest in the world.  Retirement plans might be their niche.  Do they have the higher number of retirement accounts for regular people?  It makes sense retirement assets are those a person will need the most, so they are most careful about.  It’s not their “play money.”

Prove it:  You will need to do some digging.  If you are lucky, it’s in the annual report.  There’s likely a retirement plan industry magazine that hands out awards.

8. Barron’s Top 1,200 advisors.  It would be great if you made the list.  Let’s assume you didn’t.  If your firm has the largest number of advisors on the list, it’s a reason to be proud.  They must be doing something right. FYI:  Barron’s publishes other lists too.

Prove it:  Your firm does press releases announcing the good news.  The issue of Barrons carrying the list should list number of recognized advisors by firm. 

9. Most awarded research department.  You’ve seen these lists.  Which firm has the top research depart?  Which has the highest number of 1st place winners?  Winners overall?  People often do business with a firm because of the quality of their research.  The number of analysts worldwide, stocks covered and global research office presence are other ways to be Number 1.

Prove it:  For the largest number of awards, the magazine preparing the rankings lists the results.  You could have a print copy or access it online.  Your firm will issue press releases.  For number of analysts, stocks covered, etc. your firm’s research department should publish a fact sheet.

10. Most financial advisors.  This works under the logic “bigger means better.”  If your firm has lots of offices, this means a client away from home can visit a local branch if they have a problem.

Prove it:  This is usually listed in the firm’s annual report.  Magazines rank firms in terms of number of advisors too.

11. Highest safety rating.  Rating agencies like Moody’s and S&P rank the creditworthiness of firms, states, municipalities and even countries.  People want to feel their money is safe.  If your firm has the highest safety rating that can be awarded, this can be seen as “in the top spot.”

Prove it:  Assuming your firm is publicly traded, there should be a company factsheet available.  It should include the ratings these agencies awarded.

12. Number of individual relationships.  How many people have accounts with your firm?  The number can be large, especially if your firm is owned by a bank and banking relationships are included in the tally.  This implies more people have chosen your firm than any other.

Prove it:  The number of relationships is often in the firm’s annual report or an online factsheet they produce internally for public viewing.

There are lots of ways your firm can be considered Numnber 1.  Do you make use of this advantage?