Written by: Graham Burnard
The Elixir Consulting team is fortunate enough to have worked with hundreds of successful financial advice businesses around the country. One of the attributes we see in the most successful businesses is that they have a very clear sense of their target clientele and what the value is that they deliver to these clients.
This is often summed up as the Client Value Proposition. This is probably a phrase you have heard many times but it may still raise a few questions in your mind.
What is it?
Your Client Value Proposition (CVP) is essentially what you do for your clients that is worth paying for. It is important to distinguish this from just the services you provide. It needs to be looked at through the eyes of each client and what they determine as being of value.
The tricky thing is that what clients may value may not be what takes the most time and effort from your team. It is often said that nobody wants to pay for an SOA but they will pay for the outcomes the advice in the SOA can deliver.
Similarly, clients may see limited value in a review document that details their current financial situation, despite the fact it may take several hours of admin time to complete. However, they may highly value that same document if it gives a clear picture of whether they are on track for the long-term goals and objectives. They will pay for the peace of mind it provides.
Therefore, your CVP reflects the value you deliver to clients, not just the work you do for them.
Your CVP will likely change over time as the needs of your client base change and consumer demands evolve. As a result, it is important to refresh and strengthen your CVP on a semi-regular basis. Doing so can really focus your team on ensuring that the skills and unique talents you possess will end up creating incredible value in the hands of those who benefit most from them.
We refer to your CVP in two ways:
- How you articulate it for marketing and sales purposes (your CVP statement), so that you can attract clients to you and help them decide if you’re the right adviser for them; and
- The deliverables that you include in your proposition – your suite of services that are perfectly suited to your clients’ needs, pains and challenges.
Why is it so important?
There are a number of benefits that flow from having a clear and compelling CVP. These include:
- Referral partners will find it easy to recommend you when they are able to succinctly explain the value you deliver.
- Prospective clients will see that you are focused on delivering outcomes that will be of real benefit to them. Remember that many clients may not understand the technical intricacies of what you do for them, but they will understand the outcomes you can help them achieve.
- It will help identify strengths and weaknesses in your business. When you have clarity about what clients value, you can more easily identify areas of your business to improve and what services to add to your proposition, as well as identifying services which are no longer as relevant as they once were.
- It will provide your team with greater clarity about the experience you want to deliver to your clients and what role they can play in delivering a great client experience.
Of course, while your CVP is a powerful tool for attracting clients and ensuring your business is geared up to support these clients, it is important that when you sit down with each client, you frame up the value you deliver reflecting their specific needs and using their words to frame this up.
How do you craft one?
To have a compelling CVP, you need to link your client needs to the services you provide. Your CVP is the point at which the needs of your target clientele and the benefits you provide them through your services come together.
Here is a simple process that you can work through to help define your CVP:
This framework can help you summarise your CVP by summarising each element:
We help (your target clientele) achieve (desired outcomes) by providing (your services) that will provide them (client benefits).
Let’s look at a worked example:
Not just words on a page
All too often businesses craft a beautifully worded and compelling CVP but it ends up just being words on a page, as the business doesn’t embrace the intent and purpose of the message. It is essential that all your team members know how the CVP translates into the client experience they personally deliver or have an impact on. They need to know how the CVP translates into the values of the business and their expected behaviours. This will help them take ownership of the parts of the process that they have a direct or indirect impact on.
By understanding and buying into the CVP and the underlying values this reflects, you and your team can reliably deliver a client experience your clients will value and happily recommend.
In that sense, clearly articulating a compelling CVP is the start of the process, not the end!
To understand what your ideal client looks like, start by thinking about the characteristics of the clients you most enjoy working with. These same clients are most likely to value your services and support, so ask them what it is about dealing with you that they most value. Chances are you will be surprised about what they most value!
With this target client in mind, work through the CVP process listed above. When you have a defined CVP, take it for a test drive. Try it out with your existing clients and key referral partners to see if it resonates with them. Once you have incorporated any feedback, make sure your team understands it and buys into it as strongly as you.
Once you have your clearly defined CVP, make sure it is front and centre in your marketing collateral and client communications. You need your CVP to be synonymous with your business, so everyone knows who you work with and most importantly, how they will be better off because of it.
If you need any support or some outside input working through this, you can schedule some time to talk to one of the Elixir Consulting Team members here. Alternatively, you may like to access the self-help tools and resources we have available in the Elixir Evolve Alliance here.
Related: 10 Things That Make a Successful Financial Advisor Business Plan