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How Advisors Can Improve Their Value Proposition

LPL Financial

Standing out from the competition is crucial for financial advisors, especially as the industry continues to see growth. Advisors, learn how to create and evaluate your value proposition to effectively connect with prospective clients — and set your practice apart from the competition.

… accurately conveying your unique value is no longer just important, it’s vital.

Having a clear and concise value proposition is essential for today’s financial professionals and financial advisor practice leaders. And in a digital age, your value proposition just might be the best way to leave a lasting first impression with prospective clients within your target market.

Not only can a concise, easy-to-understand value proposition tell potential clients who you are and what you do—it can justify your fees, the value of your services, your experience and what differentiates your approach. Plus, it offers an ideal opportunity to flex your brand voice and start valuable conversations with investors with just a few sentences.

Standing out to stay competitive

Setting yourself apart from the competition has always been an important aspect of business ownership, regardless of where you are in your advisor journey. As the industry becomes more saturated with advisors who have left wirehouse restrictions behind — [PS1] and transitioned from transaction to fee-based services — accurately conveying your unique value is no longer just important, it’s vital.

4 questions to ask to clarify your value proposition

A value proposition should be purposeful and professional, but also relatable to your audience. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to update your existing value proposition, asking yourself these four key questions may help:

  1. What makes you and your business unique?
  2. What type of clients do you work with currently, and want to work with moving forward?
  3. What are the benefits clients receive from your financial services and expertise?
  4. What do you want prospects to feel when they read your business’ value proposition? 

The answers you provide can serve as key pillars in building a value proposition that truly resonates with your ideal clients and helps them recognize when you and/or your firm may be the right fit for their financial life goals.

Review this sample financial advisor value proposition:

Founded in 1995, Emerald Family Wealth is a boutique financial planning firm that specializes in helping clients develop the financial strategies they need to achieve their life’s aspirations.

While this statement certainly includes positive language, helpful information, and relevant industry talking points it’s still a bit ambiguous. By clarifying a few areas of this value proposition, the firm has a much better chance of connecting with the desired target audience.

Here’s a breakdown of a few phrases that need improvement and why:

  • The phrase: “Boutique financial planning firm”
    • Why it needs improvement: The word “boutique” does signify that the firm works with a specific group of people, but the statement does not explain who is in that group. Each investor has unique levels of risk tolerance and each will have different financial goals based on their life stage or unique situation. Being specific when describing the types of investors you specialize in working with will help prospective clients determine if your firm is right for their unique needs.
  • The phrase: “Financial strategies”
    • Why it needs improvement: The term “financial strategies” is a bit vague. If the firm has any particular specializations, such as wealth preservation or intergenerational planning, an investor wouldn’t know from this statement alone.

      Today’s investors are seeking more personalized financial guidance from advisors with experience in strategies that support their investing values and goals. While you want to avoid using industry jargon, you do want to ensure your areas of expertise are clearly communicated in your value proposition and you standout more as a specialist, then a generalist.
  • The phrase: “Achieve their life’s aspirations”
    • Why it needs improvement: We understand that helping clients achieve financial success to help pay for their life’s goals and aspirations is key for success. A more effective statement would include the methods by which the firm can help investors achieve and realize those aspirations.

      Choosing a financial advisor is a big decision for many investors and a lack of communication from the beginning can contribute to major customer pain points down the line. Conveying your tools, methods, and processes within your value proposition can help you attract the right investors for your practice.

By addressing these changes, we can build on the existing value proposition to create one that provides a deeper level of understanding and inspires more confidence in the firm: 

Founded in 1995, Strategic Financial Services is a boutique financial planning firm focused on the needs of high-net-worth clients and their families.

With a combined 80 years of experience in wealth preservation strategies, the team develops customized, comprehensive financial plans with the goal of helping our clients achieve their financial goals, and help ensure their financial security today and for generations to come.

We hold ourselves to the highest standards of transparency and accountability to protect the wealth our clients have worked hard to earn and to demonstrate our commitment to acting in their best interests each and every day.

Putting your value proposition into action

Crafting a new value proposition, or refining an existing one, takes time and effort. Effective positioning of your firm hinges on how you communicate your authenticity and credibility. Independent advisors have a unique opportunity to build their business their way—embracing that same mentality when building a value proposition is crucial.

Here are a few steps you can follow when putting your value proposition into effective action:

  • Make it a team effort. Be sure to discuss and develop your value proposition with key stakeholders within your practice. What you feel makes your business unique may be different from what others find unique. That’s a good thing. Objective collaboration helps you take a deep dive into how you operate, who your ideal clients are, and what benefits you can provide them.
  • Get client feedback. Consider reaching out to your top clients and asking for their insights. Clients who have been with you long-term probably have more than a few reasons for why they continue, and enjoy, working with you.

    Their answers can help you gain a deeper understanding of the qualities your firm possesses and how you can apply talking points to address common investor uncertainty and client pain points. Plus, this exercise gives you an opportunity to check-in with clients, show them you care about their experience, and receive testimonials you can share with your team, and apply to your marketing materials or collateral for the future. 
  • Practice it: Once you have your value proposition finalized, get comfortable telling your story and what makes you unique. This will enable you to confidently explain your services and benefits to prospective clients without it seeming robotic or rehearsed.

    Set some general guidelines around how this language fits into specific parts of your financial planning and advisory practice. This can include your phone greetings, client review invitations and follow ups, event planning, digital brand messaging and more. Make sure everyone on your team has a level of comfort and sense of ownership with the value proposition they have created together. Allow them time to internalize it and make it their own when they interact with clients.
  • Incorporate it: Update your website content, marketing plan, and any additional brand and client facing collateral so your refined value proposition can resonate across your communication channels and instill confident with your target market.

    Start weaving your value proposition language into every area of your practice, from blog content development, social media posts, thought leadership sessions, networking events and more. Most importantly, consistently incorporate it into client and prospect communications to stand out from the competitive landscape.

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