Duncan MacPherson: From Commodity to Communication
This article is pulled from The Advisor Playbook:
by Duncan MacPherson
I had a conversation with an advisor who primarily has a Business to Business approach as opposed to a Business to Consumer model. This advisor provides group plans and related products to business owners and was spending a lot of time explaining his core solutions to prospective clients.
He spent very little time understanding the nuances of each business or explaining his service model and value proposition, however. As a result, he was swimming in the pool of sameness and had an average closing ratio. Worse than that, though, was that the quality and quantity of referrals he was attracting was brutal.
After analyzing his communications methodology, branding and service process, I provided some minor adjustments that he could deploy. Today, he spends far more time being interested in the prospective client’s business, outlining his points of difference and setting expectations as they relate to ongoing service – all driven by process.
Business owners understand the importance of process and they can identify someone just trying to make a sale versus someone who is focused on the lifetime value of a client relationship. Furthermore, this client has started to re-frame his relationships with existing clients to ensure they understand and appreciate his current service model, and he’s now outlining how he will enhance service provided going forward.
This not only serves as the foundation for a competitor-proofed relationship, but also gains a client’s full empowerment and creates consistent advocacy.
Are You on the Verge?
I recently talked to an advisor who made a number of small refinements to his approach and the results have been staggering. Specifically, he shifted from an elevator speech that sounded like everyone else to a variation of our value proposition (following the four-point process outlined earlier) that is to the point and compelling.
He used to say, “I help affluent clients manage their wealth and risk.” Today he says, “I am a wealth advisor, primarily for successful business owners who aspire to a work-optional life-style. I’ve developed a process that manages wealth and risk for my clients.”
That small adjustment positions this advisor as a consultant with a process, so that he isn’t perceived as just another broker with a generic approach.
After a small informal survey, he told me that his clients previously described him to friends as “a good guy with good ideas”. Today they describe him as a professional with a process. That small distinction creates a much more favorable perception of relevant and unique value.