Wall Street Journal Article Shows the Value of Non-Advisory Services Hot

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A tweet from Michael Kitces earlier this week alerted me to an article in the Wall Street Journal called "Your Advisor Did What?! The story starts by asking a question all advisors should consider periodically: "what are you getting for that hefty annual fee you are paying your financial planner?"
 
It goes on to tell stories of several advisors in different parts of the country who are doing things for their clients that are not considered standard offerings by financial advisors. Some act as resources for their clients who are looking for other professionals: contractors, plumbers, real estate agents, even feng shui designers. One helps clients get home energy audits and encourages them to install solar panels. One in the earthquake prone San Francisco area persuades clients to take a video inventory of their home and stores a copy of the resulting DVD in a safe.
 
The article indicates that financial advisors can be a helpful resource finding and connecting with other professional services, and encourages clients to look to their advisors for that kind of help. Some advisors, like the ones promoting solar panels and video inventory, are taking the initiative to reach out to their client to offer their help. They are promoting ideas people in their area would benefit from. Could we be more targeted about it and contribute to our value proposition in a unique way?
 
As financial advisors, setting yourself apart from other advisors is one of the paramount challenges to marketing your practice. When it comes right down to it, what you do for your clients is very similar to what a lot of other advisors do for their clients. So why should a particular prospect hire you rather than your competition?
 
Since the disciplines of investment management and financial planning are so consistent across client types, I believe that an effective way of differentiating yourself is to look for things your target client needs that is not necessarily something a financial advisor would provide. What is it that makes your ideal client different from the population? What other needs to that particular group of people have that you can provide?
 
The advisors in the Wall Street Journal article help clients negotiate the purchase of a car, find an insurance agent, contract with a moving company. What needs to your ideal clients have? What solutions can you help them find that other financial advisors don't think about? Deliver some of them to your clients and you may find a simple and effective reason for your ideal prospects to talk to you.

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