Think Your Firm’s Growth is Tied to Price? Think Again.

4 MIN READ

According to most scholars, it was Heraclitus who first coined the phrase, “The only constant in life is change.” Ironically, he is also known as the “weeping philosopher,” due to his melancholy nature and contrarian attitude. Ponder that for a moment.

Constant change in an industry requires regular adjustments from those who operate within that space. For financial advisory firms, that means finding new ways to spotlight value to their clients. Is your firm adjusting to the shifting landscape in our industry?

Navigating that landscape as a wealth management firm is what today’s article is all about. Last week, we provided financial advisors a “How-To Guide to Communicating Value.” This week, we’ll talk about that at a firm level. How are you helping your advisors spotlight value to clients?

Your Pricing is Not a Differentiator

Transparency is a value, and your pricing is not a differentiator. Leading with either of those when prospecting for new clients is focusing on “table stakes” that all of your competitors are offering. What exactly makes your firm unique? Those points are what you need to highlight.

Conduct a market analysis of competitor wealth management firms and find out where the “white space” is. There are certain demographics and psychographics that are underserved by your competitors. Position yourself as a thought leader in those white spaces.

Owning that new white space niche is how you can successfully grow your business, but only if you communicate your value to prospects and clients. Publishing quality content about issues affecting your niche is one way to do this. Effectively serving your clients is another.

Spotlighting the Value Points of the Client Experience

Terms like “client-focused” and “transparency” are overused and will not differentiate your firm in 2021. Neither will the word “trust.” If you choose to spotlight that, you’re not only undifferentiated but may also actually cast doubt in clients’ minds.

Modern clients are looking for advisory firms they can have confidence in because they share a common vision with them. Everyone wants to be financially independent. How do you get them there? Spotlight actions, not cliches. The key here is to focus in on tasks your advisors do every day that, no matter how routine, add value in the lives of their clients. 

A good example of this is rebalancing. Instead of simply telling clients to “trust the process” because your advisors know what they’re doing, explain it to them. Use a phrase like, “This is how we rebalance your portfolio and why this action was necessary.” And communicate to them every time you do it. That’s spotlighting value.

Do the same with performance reviews. Clients today are financially savvy and technologically capable. They can get performance information on dozens of digital platforms. Understanding it from their perspective, with their context is unique to your relationship. Advisors in your firm should be the source of that information.

If you’re using an online client portal, remind clients about its value whenever you’re using the online dashboard to do reviews or answer questions. This, combined with automated communication, is the reason you’re able to give them more personal attention.

When your firm conducts performance reviews, spotlight how an advisor’s actions affect performance. Placing a personal note on the performance report, or in the client’s dashboard if you’re using an online client portal, shows them that you’re earning your fee.

For firms using a third-party mobile app like Blueleaf’s, the branding and communications help connect your brand and service to their daily experience of their money. This omnipresence on a client’s phone underscores where their valuable information comes from and reminds them of the value your firm creates in the background everyday.

Are You Using the Right Tools & Tech Or Just Wasting Time?

Even Heraclitus would smile if he saw the technology that we have available to us today. Automated communication and reporting platforms give wealth management firms the ability to create a uniquely branded client experience.

A good example of this is the use of branded automated communication via email or text message. Set a frequency that keeps you top-of-mind with clients so they’re regularly reminded of the value you’re delivering.

Mobile apps are an ideal way to deliver automated communications. Smartphones are ubiquitous and everyone from Gen Z to grandma is using mobile devices to stay in the know. Cater to these preferences by using a mobile app to send messages and updates, ensuring clients consistently see your brand. 

From a practice management perspective, technology also helps keep all financial advisors on the same page. Client messaging has to be consistent. An automated communication platform, preferably with an interactive mobile app, makes that easier to do.

Communicating clearly and regularly, spotlighting the actions and messaging of your financial advisors is how you demonstrate value to clients. This is time-consuming and tedious if you do it manually. Technology gives you the ability to automate it.

Do Advisors Want to Work for You? Not If You’re Not Doing This…

Value spotlighting to clients becomes a part of the overall value proposition of your firm. It can be used as an incentive to recruit new advisors, many of whom don’t yet have this where they are. Delivering unique value to your advisors in this way is one of the most effective ways to grow your business. Those advisors are looking for effective client communication.  

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment for financial advisors will grow roughly 4% in the next ten years. The Cerulli Group, a Boston-based research firm, estimates that 111,500 advisors will retire during that same time frame.    

Based on those statistics, there will be more jobs than job seekers in the wealth management space over the next decade. Advisors looking for a new firm to join can be selective because they’ll be in demand. How will you differentiate from your competitors?

Spotlighting value is an attraction to clients. Automating it is an attraction for advisors. Using the right technology is key to making that work. Implement both and your firm will be in good shape for this most recent round of changes we’re facing in the wealth management world.

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Kevin D. Flynn is a former Head Coach at Blueleaf, founder of AdvisorScale Financial Writing, and Managing Editor at October Golf Magazine.
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