Keeping the UVP “all about them” is important. When forming your new UVP, return to the fundamental questions: Who (specifically) is the target group? And what (specifically) is the group’s greatest concern? In my experience, advisors almost always think about their UVP in terms of what they have to offer rather than what the target clients are most interested in receiving. Keep returning to the needs of your potential target group.
Good UVP #3: I specialize in providing comprehensive financial planning to successful business owners and executives who are unable to devote the time necessary to ensure their financial goals and dreams are being most effectively met.
This is a good UVP and will work effectively to start a conversation. It could be better in some important ways:
Avoid generalities and jargon. You probably already noticed the generalities and jargon in this message: “comprehensive financial planning,” “business owners” and “the time necessary.” Being too busy is a very general problem shared to some extent by most successful people. A great UVP deals with specifics and pain—a specific solution to a particular problem that a certain group of people have.
Great UVP #1: I provide monetization strategies for owners of closely held corporations who are interested in liquidating some of their ownership and have concerns about taxes.
Notice the specifics: not just business owners but owners of “closely held corporations who are interested in liquidating,” and not just financial services but “monetization strategies” that address “concerns about taxes.”
Great UVP #2: I provide asset protection strategies for anesthesiologists who are concerned about litigation and the loss of personal wealth.
I’ve found that many advisors worry about getting too specific because they fear that the group of potential clients they will attract may be too small. This is a mistake, because you need only 10 to 20 new clients a year, each with $2 million to $5 million in investible assets, to become extraordinarily successful. Think of your UVP as setting you up to “own” a group.
A Truly Great Unique Value Proposition Should Be…
Specific: The more you specify a business or industry or situation, the more you can define the painful problems the investor is likely to have. Technology start-ups are really different from multigenerational family businesses. Each of these business owners will have different needs and will engage the Financial Advisor on different solutions.
Different: Detach from what you know and what everyone else is doing. Create something truly unusual. The idea of a UVP is to think very differently from everybody else, and that starts with getting clear about the needs of a particular group of highly desirable clients and defining what causes them the most pain.
Focused:Prospective clients and referral advocates don’t have the time or emotional energy to listen to a long, rambling self-description. A unique value proposition should be no more than a sentence or two.
Unique: Ask the questions “Can anyone else make this claim?” and “Can a prospective client find this/hear this elsewhere?” A UVP points to a particular expertise that distinguishes your business from similar providers.
Relevant: For example, one client team included in their UVP that they provided refreshments at every client meeting, as evidence of their hospitality and concern for their clients’ well-being. It was very nice that this group provided a beverage service to their clients, and I’m sure their clients value this extra, personalized touch. I wish more advisory practices would do this; it’s easy to do and makes a great impression. However, I doubt a prospective client would select his or her new advisor because a beverage service was provided. This information has no place in a great UVP.
A UVP should point to a unique, compelling and valuable dimension of what your advisory practice delivers that will make a prospective client say, “I need to find out more about that group—they sound like they specialize in my situation.”
As a way to sharpen your assessment of your current UVP, I offer here a “test” for a great marketing statement: Imagine that you have written the UVP in big, block letters on a white billboard out on the highway. All you get to write is the UVP and your telephone number. Imagine that lots of people will look at the billboard every day. Would anyone call?
Unique. Specific. Valuable. Motivating. That’s a great UVP.
Ken Haman is the Managing Director at the AllianceBernstein Advisor Institute, visit http://ria.alliancebernstein.com.