As advisors move away from selling products to selling themselves, demonstrating your “value proposition” is more important than ever. Here are answers to questions advisors commonly ask.
Q: How can I differentiate myself in a “sea of sameness” in the wealth management industry?
A: The most powerful way you can stand out from the competition is to focus on a niche—in other words, become a specialist. For example, say you have a client who’s a business owner nearing retirement. You can set yourself apart by designing a plan to address questions like these:
• What is my business worth now—and what does it need to be worth to meet my goals?
• How do I develop a succession plan and timeline for my transition?
• How can I minimize my taxes prior to selling my business?
Through specialization, you can add value by anticipating problems, asking diagnostic questions and understanding the issues that a client or prospect is facing even before they do.
Q: How do I demonstrate my value to clients and justify the fees I charge?
A: It’s not enough to tell prospects and clients what you can do—you have to show them. So, rather than stating, “We do taxes,” schedule a virtual meeting with a prospect. Get started by asking some relevant questions to understand their personal situation and then model potential scenarios showing what would happen, for instance, if the prospect did a Roth IRA conversion. This high-level “live planning” not only quantifies the benefits you can deliver but also is an opportunity to educate and persuade.
A wealth planning road map like the one below can be a useful tool to help explain the depth and breadth of the services you offer over time while reinforcing the value you provide.
Q: How can I deepen relationships with clients so they are not only satisfied but become advocates for my firm as well?
A: Clients often aren’t aware of the “behind the scenes” work advisors do for them. So, it’s important to remind your clients by documenting that work as well as their progress toward their goals. Think of it as a “report card” that serves both as a record of what you’ve achieved so far and sets out what still needs to be accomplished in the future.
Finding “silver linings” when bad news dominates the headlines also presents a valuable opportunity to deepen client relationships. For example, when the markets are trending down, you can help clients potentially reduce their taxes through tax-loss harvesting, converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, gifting appreciated assets to family and investing in an employee stock purchase plan.
In a high interest rate environment, setting up a qualified personal residence trust or charitable remainder trust may also be appropriate options. Whatever your clients’ personal circumstances, you’ll want to be prepared to provide solutions—silver linings—that make sense for them.