Every now and then it becomes necessary to revisit your value proposition to determine whether it is still working — especially if you are not achieving the growth you anticipated. Otherwise, you risk losing clients in an increasingly competitive environment.
“You might think you are doing a good job,” says Raymond Yates, financial advisor and senior partner with Save Right Financial Inc. in Mississauga, Ont. “But the environment around you is changing and you must be able to keep up.”
Adds Nadira Lawrence-Selan, communications and public relations consultant with Hathleigh Consulting in Woodbridge, Ont.: “You must be able to offer what clients expect. And their expectations might have changed since you first acquired them.”
The people who are in the best position to tell you whether you’re still delivering on your promises — or if you have to tweak your value proposition — are your clients.
Here are five questions you can ask your clients to determine the validity of your value proposition.
1.Why did you choose me as your advisor?
Yates says most of his clients are referrals, whom he believes initially chose him because of his experience, qualifications, knowledge, reputation and profile in the community. However, asking clients why they actually chose you either confirms that your value proposition is still intact or informs you of your shortcomings.
2. Am I meeting your expectations?
“This is always the million-dollar question,” says Lawrence-Selan. “The answer might not always be what you want to hear but it can certainly provide you with guidance for improving your value proposition.”
Advisors typically focus on product performance and service, Yates says, but often neglect the “little things” that demonstrate client appreciation, such as follow-up phone calls, lunches and gifts.
“Clients know what their friends and colleagues get from other advisors,” Yates says. “And you want to remain competitive.”
3. What can I do differently?
“You want to set yourself apart from your competitors,” Lawrence-Selan says. “Clients can provide useful insights on what you can do differently. And you must to strive to meet their needs.”
Clients are always looking at what should be on the product shelf and what would be good to have, Yates says, whether it is a product or a service. The key is to listen to what clients want, he says, “or you could end up losing all or a part of their business.”
4. Would you recommend me?
If clients are willing to recommend you, Yates says, then you know your value proposition is working.
Lawerence-Selan suggests adding “why or why not” to that question — asking clients to refer to specific aspects of your business, such as service, follow-up and products. “The answers would provide greater clarity on what clients like or do not like,” she says, adding that some clients have lower expectations than others. “You must dig deep.”
5. Consider changing your value proposition
Many advisors have broad value propositions that refer in very general terms about what they do, Yates says.
“You do not necessarily have to change your value proposition,” Lawrence-Selan says. “But it might be necessary to tweak it.”
Adds Yates: “You must implement the feedback you received and inform clients when you do.”