People care less about what you do and more about what they get.
When I asked advisors what they do, or what value they represent, too many describe the process they utilize and not enough describe solution they deliver.
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People won't refer you because you have a customized financial planning process and evaluate individual goals and generate recommendations tailored to client specific needs, and they won't refer you because you carefully monitor relationships between markets and rebalance portfolios based on proprietary protocols. People care less about what you do and more about what they get.
I believe the most powerful descriptions of the value advisors offer encapsulate the benefit a target prospect realizes by working with them. This requires, first, that you have a practical and well defined target market, but that's another post. Consider describing what you do worded as a solution from the client’s point of view. Complete this sentence “People like [describe target prospect] come to me for [solution that target market requires]. Consider these possibilities:
Corporate executives facing retirement in the next three years come to me because I show them the right choice on their retirement plan distributions.
Single professional mothers come to me to learn how to balance the demands of raising kids with the ability to afford college.
People who have saved enough to take care of themselves and want to use their savings to leave a mark on the world come to us to plan their legacy.
Don’t worry about answering the question “What do you do” with a sentence that starts out by describing your target client. You may think the person who asked you the question wants you to be the subject of the sentence, but you can much more effectively get their attention by describing the person you specialize in – especially if it is them.
When I ask advisors what they do, most often I hear versions of “I help people reach their financial goals” or “I manage people's portfolios to help reduce risk.” Or “I give people peace of mind”. These are usually too general to be useful. And the bigger problem is that I don't think of my problems in those terms. I have just started a new business with one child in college, and am newly married, working on consolidating two households and have a three-year-old in the house for the first time in 14 years. You are NOT going to give me peace of mind.
People will come to get a solution, not to get a process. And people will remember to refer you because a friend mentions a problem that your client can plug your solution into, not because they like your process or because you have provided them returns to keep up with the market (even if it's with lower volatility).
If you stand for process you are a technician. If you represent a solution, you will attract clients and referrals who need a problem solved.