Get Out of Your Groove to Improve Their Business
Financial advisors and consultants in professional services love to sell. And they do it with gusto, passing out brochures, clicking through PowerPoint presentations, launching email campaigns, and persuading prospects to believe in their value and their capabilities.
But in this flurry of activity, they’re answering the wrong questions: Why us? Why choose us? Why work with us? These big-yawner questions wear out prospects, already pitch-tired from everyone who came before.
Don’t Waste Time
Successful advisors get the fact that prospects find out what they need about you and your competitors—online, in a matter of minutes. Don’t drag prospects through a one-dimensional meeting about you and your capabilities, forcing them to watch and listen to the numbing click-click-click of your PowerPoint. Would you want your limited time wasted?
Research shows that prospects don’t decide on advisor products, services or differentiators. These exist as only as tools. Besides, most prospects really don’t care about buying your product or service; they care only about the results those products or services bring to their situation. In short, financial advisors and professional consultants must focus on helping clients improve their business.
I know this declaration sounds obvious, but after 30 years on the playing field, I’ve seen more misdirected sales presentations destroy deals.
Successful advisors take responsibility to create value with every client interaction. They walk the talk. They help prospects with current business issues. They do in-depth research and share what they’ve learned. They question status quo. They explore ideas and concepts often hidden from prospect view. They package and uwrap, with meticulous attention to detail, their exclusive brand of knowledge on how to solve the key issue and, in doing so, improve their prospect’s business.
Granted prospects select you based on your knowledge and expertise, but knowledge today falls into the commodity category. Think of all the crowded niches competing for prospect attention: Retirement planning, financial planning, wealth management, estate planning, practice management, fiduciary compliance, insurance services, accounting services, investment advisory, to name a few.
Google the terms financial advisor, law firms, accounting firms, tax advisor, estate planner, retirement specialist, and you’ll see what I mean. For the most part, everyone looks the same. And we all know perception transcends reality.
Stand Up, Stand Out
I’ll share two examples where two firms moved permanently into the exclusive club of trusted advisor.
One of my clients provides broker-dealer services to investment bankers involved in the merger and acquisition business. Typically, his broker-dealer compliance services fit the commodity definition; brokers usually select these services based on cost. But not so with my client.
My client regularly helps his clients grow revenues and profitability. Consider his differentiators:
- Developed a web-based posting board for his clients to share deals with. If they have a client who needs money, wants to buy or sell, they can solicit help from fellow bankers. Many times they partner on the deal.
- Created a customized service so clients can get access to hard-to-find, costly resources, especially for smaller firms, valuable resources to business valuation firms, legal and accounting services, and transaction documentation services. One of his resources is a China-based investment fund with keen interest to invest in U.S. companies.
- Provides access to strategic planning, marketing services, and other advisors to help clients grow their business.
- Holds an annual gathering in the pastoral wine country, where clients enjoy opportunities to present, network and learn from other business leaders.
You might say, simple enough, yet these services aren’t found in most broker-dealers. Because my client freely gives his industry knowledge, experience and contacts to his client relationship, he stands out from the crowd.
Let me share another example. A title insurance broker provides a welcomed service to her clients, real estate brokers. She runs a call center to solicit home listings in their community. The only way a real estate broker grows is by selling more houses; her valuable service goes far beyond the norm and boosts her clients’ revenue and profitability.
What services can you bring to help your clients grow their business?
How can you wrap your products and services into an irresistible bundle of total value-added service?
Take a few hours each week for creative think-time. Keep a notepad near your computer, in the car. Every time you get a piece of client feedback, jot it down or record to your smartphone. Listen and learn. The green shoots of profitable ideas will begin to pop up in the most unlikely places. And your clients will celebrate you with acres of trust.
See you on the upside,