Assessing Your Value Proposition

November 13th, 2019

What is your value proposition? And just as important, is it any good?

The questions are linked, but not in ways you might initially think.

Just having a value proposition — an expression of how what you do and how you do it brings value to your clients — is easy. You just rattle off some attributes you think will appeal to customers, right?

“XYZ Wealth Management brings dynamic planning processes and prudent investment guidance to help business professionals and business owners achieve their retirement goals.”

Undoubtedly you do those things, but is the expression of what you do in such terms a real value proposition? Does it really reflect your approach to being a financial advisor, or is it — hint: it is — just a collection of words made up to fill some space without much more thought than it took to type them?

To be of lasting worth, to enhance your business by helping you attract the kinds of clients you work with best, a value proposition has to be honest and accurate. Evaluating your value proposition along these lines as a financial advisor is a highly subjective process — as in fact it must be. In this case, subjectivity is a vital ingredient to being unapologetically you, which is what your best clients want. , you can work toward a value proposition that confers such benefits as:

  • The ability to hone in on niches by identifying your unique strengths
  • Visibility as a problem solver
  • Clarity about your practice as a means to make needed changes
  • Competitiveness in a fast-changing business environment
  • A better understanding of the number and types of value you bring to market, the better to sharpen your marketing efforts

And luckily, the work of conceiving a value proposition is lightened by the fact that there is room for your uniqueness in the vast array of needs and preferences that clients and prospects have for financial planning and wealth management.

In sum, your best clients are out there looking for you, and a strong value proposition can help them find you.

Wise words

Every successful artist has a unique identity. Their fans know it, recognize it, and respond to it immediately and favorably. Likewise, your firm has a unique identity that, when brought to life in a clear and dynamic value proposition, will help clients grasp that you’re not just a financial advisor, but the financial advisor who is going to provide them with the specific help, in the specific style, they crave. These clients — whether the niche you attract turn out to be retirees, entrepreneurs, young investors, single parents, or employees of a specific company — have the potential to become super fans that derive satisfaction from working with you because you provide what they can’t find elsewhere — making them likely to provide useful and recurrent referrals.

Your value proposition may be simple, repetitive even, and that’s a good thing. The work that goes into formulating may take minutes to jot down, or require months of painstaking effort before you come to understand exactly what needs to come through, precisely how to present it, and exactly how to embody it with enough confidence and understanding that your target audience will embrace it. If that work doesn’t lead to an expression of increasing simplicity, then you’re on the wrong track.

Remember what Einstein said? “If you can’t explain it simply, you do not understand it well enough.” To convey a clear, concise and unambiguous idea of what you do for your clients, your value proposition should be the very essence of these wise words.

A great chef

In a phrase, your value proposition should be short and sweet, but extremely well thought out. View the individual services you provide as a financial advisor in holistic rather than compartmentalized terms, and don’t be shy about communicating the fact that you love your work.

After all, a cook doesn’t achieve “great chef” status by distaining his trade, or despising his ingredients. Instead she loves every detail, every aspect of the thought and work that goes into designing and preparing a masterful menu. Write your value proposition from the perspective of the master chef, so that you come to the task with a heart full of love for the work you do.

And write it yourself.

Sure, hunt down some examples online, bounce ideas off friends, mentors and colleagues — but do the work yourself, so that it is a wholly authentic expression. The very act of struggling to express your value proposition in your words will help ensure the end product resonates with your clients and prospects and assures them you’re the financial advisor they need.

In the end, the value to you of your firm’s value proposition is a function of its accuracy, simplicity and authenticity.