In the medical field, a pulmonary specialist is sought after more than a general practitioner for people with lung health problems. The financial services sector is no different in that advisors who have expertise in a particular area tend to be high in demand.
“A professional with a specialization tends to be more sought after in every industry,” says Rosemary Horwood, vice president and investment advisor with Rosemary Horwood Wealth, which operates under Toronto-based Richardson GMP Ltd.
Although catering to the broadest possible spectrum of clients may seem like a good way of expanding your business, carving out a unique value proposition can be a more effective growth strategy.
“A unique value proposition can help an advisor grow [his or her] business mainly through the efficiency created by specialization within the wealth management industry,” Horwood says.
These efficiencies include the opportunity to develop a deeper knowledge of a market segment, a more reliable network for referrals and streamlined processes.
Advisors sometimes end up sacrificing their development of a core strength in an effort to avoid turning away any potential clients, says Michèle Soregaroli, founder and CEO of Vancouver-based Transformation Catalyst Corp.
“They are hesitant to say, ‘Oh, that’s not in my wheelhouse,’ and turn business away,” she says. However, by trying to be too many things to too many clients, advisors may fail to adhere to their unique value proposition or, in some cases, fail to even develop one in the first place.
For advisors to get serious about a unique value proposition, they need to consider what they’re hoping to accomplish within their practice, Soregaroli says. Once an advisor is clear on his or her guiding purpose or intent, a value proposition is much easier to develop.
Soregaroli is careful to note that advisors should take a “psychographic” approach to their unique value proposition rather than a demographic one. A psychographic approach entails determining the personality, values and lifestyle of an advisor’s desired client base rather than focusing only on demographic information such as age.
“When you narrow down the people who you want to serve and ensure they share your worldview,” Soregaroli says, “it’s much easier to service them and make a difference.”
April-Lynn Levitt, coach with Waterloo, Ont.-based the Personal Coach, recommends that advisors solicit feedback from the clients they most want to replicate before finalizing their unique value proposition. Some questions advisors may want to ask clients include:
- What’s the most valuable part of your client experience?
- How would you describe me?
- Why did you choose to work with me in the first place?
When it comes time to write down a value proposition, advisors should be careful to avoid including any industry jargon. “Put it in the client’s terms,” Levitt says.
For example, advisors commonly refer to “holistic wealth management.” But current and potential clients may not understand exactly what that term means.
“Keep in mind that the words you choose to include must resonate with your clients,” Horwood says.
Lastly, a unique value proposition is more than just words, and should be conveyed beyond your website and other marketing materials. It needs to be evident throughout all channels of your business, Soregaroli says, including your interactions with your team and your external network.
This is the first article in a three-part series on growing your business in 2018.
Up next: Prospecting strategies to grow your practice.