Separating Yourself from the Pack: 4 Ways to Stand Out in a Sea of Sameness
The financial advisory business is competitive. With more than 311,000 financial advisors in the United States, according to Cerulli Associates, it can seem like a daunting task to differentiate your practice from all the other firms that offer similar financial services. But making a difference as a financial advisor and finding ways to stand out from your competitors is not as difficult as you think. Let’s look at four strategies you can use to set your practice apart from others and attract more business from prospects.
- Identify your potential niche: You’ve likely heard the saying that you can’t be all things to all people. Advisors who cast their net too wide risk losing clients to specialists who are better suited to meet their specific needs. Identifying a niche for your business can make it easier to interact with and understand your clients’ needs. As your expertise grows in an area, you are also more likely to get target clients to say yes and choose to do business with you. But how do you go about finding a niche? Consider your strengths and areas of expertise. Focus on your passions. Think about your ideal client and what clients say is most significant about your services. In many cases, your niche will emerge from where you already have a network and personal connections.
- Clarify your brand and message: Developing a unique and bold value proposition for clients – which translates into a brand and messaging platform for your business – is critical to attract and retain clients. Many advisors have similar value propositions and talk about the same themes, so it’s key to determine your point of differentiation. It’s also important to make the focus of your brand messaging about your clients and not you. You want to speak to your target clients instead of at them. Also look at what your competitors are saying and doing. Stay away from similar messaging, vague promises and generic statements. Spend some time working on your value proposition to ensure it’s straight forward and repeatable so it’s easy for your clients and associates to make referrals to you. You may also want to periodically test your messaging and content on your website, in your newsletter or in other marketing materials with people who resemble your client segment to ensure it resonates with your target client and continues to differentiate you from other advisors.
- Provide exceptional service consistently: Once you have a focus and brand for your business, it’s important to develop a strategy for reliably delivering an exceptional experience to your clients. Creating a client segmentation strategy to automate workflows and optimize engagement opportunities is an important initial step. Many advisors use technology, such as a CRM system, to make this easier and document client preferences. Also, don’t underestimate the value of doing simple things well. Clients often leave advisors for simple things like not returning calls promptly, failing to proactively contact them and not answering emails on time. Delivering great client service consistently can have a significant impact on the success of your practice. Forming a team or hiring an assistant are great ways to ensure you can deliver a seamless client experience and improve client engagement.
- Communicate effectively: Research shows that shorter, more frequent communications are more impactful for engaging clients and prospects. You can easily manage many of these interactions through use of CRM and an automated marketing platform. Record your clients’ communications preferences and important life events in CRM. Many marketing platforms offer pre-approved content for newsletters, blog posts and websites while also offering the ability to personalize certain aspects for your practice. In today’s COVID-19 environment, it’s also important to master technology tools like Zoom or Webex to interact with clients who may be reluctant to meet face to face. Even as things begin to return to normal, some clients may prefer to continue to use virtual options for communication at least some of the time.
Finding a way to differentiate yourself as a financial advisor is not as difficult as you think. Consider implementing these steps to stand out from the sea of sameness, effectively grow your practice and thrive.
The paper/commentary was prepared by Momentum Independent Network (MIN). It is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or investment advice. The statements within constitute the views of MIN as of the date of the document and may differ from the views of other divisions/departments of affiliate Hilltop Securities Inc. In addition, the views are subject to change without notice.
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