Are you suffering from “I” trouble?
There has been a fundamental change of 21st century business, the shift in power from the seller to the buyer. Prospects and even existing clients now seek out and want to do business only with those who can communicate in and from their perspective. Unfortunately the financial industry has a continuing case of “I” trouble.
In a world where information is ubiquitous, instantaneous, and inexpensive, the financially successful don’t care that you have great products, years of experience, or are rated #1. Rather, today’s consumer has a single focus, “Why should I do business with this company or advisor? Will they help me accomplish what I want?”
No longer do potential buyers respond to a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) which so many financial firms and financial professionals continue to use. Rather, consumers today seek and respond to a Unique Value Promise. A clear functional and emotional reason, clearly stated, upfront that illustrates the outcome they will receive by doing business with you.
Here are a few Unique Value Promises of companies who have responded to this shift. Note that they communicate clear outcomes from the customer’s perspective.
FedEx: their promise? “When you positively need it overnight.”
Lazy Boy Furniture: their promise of outcome? “Live Life Comfortably.”
Dollar General conveys real value with: “Save time, save money. Every day.”
Target: “Expect more. Pay less.”
In every illustrative case they do not talk about their products, services, or perceived dominance – as in, “We are #1” – in an attempt to sell us. They don’t talk about who they are or how they do things or their years of experience. Instead they clearly message what they will do for the consumer solely from the buyer’s perspective.
In today’s commoditized and competitive marketplace prospects and clients alike know the difference between a real promise and a selling proposition. They want a high level promise of outcome before they even inquire and engage.
As a manager, agent or advisor if you actually do “tailor solutions to meet financial goals,” why isn’t that communicated to prospects and clients instead of your attributes? If you “help the affluent achieve their financial objectives,” isn’t that far better than “we have a comprehensive 6 step investment process?” Isn’t “protecting your family and assets” far better than “I sell life insurance?” Isn’t “organizing all of your assets tax efficiently” better than “I create a financial plan”?
These examples will be seen or dismissed by some in the industry as slogans or tag lines. They are neither. A slogan or tagline is often a short lived company or product-centric promotional tool used in the hope of driving sales or actions around a product or service.
In contrast an authentic Unique Value Promise establishes an advisor, an agent, a manager or even firms as distinct from all others in the marketplace.
However the change to customer-centric messaging and communications doesn’t end with a UVP. It is really just the beginning. Making a promise of outcome sets the stage and generates curiosity with the prospective buyer.
In the sales process advisors and agents must also communicate in and from the buyer’s perspective. Confusion continues to reign in the mind of the prospect when the focus in the sales and marketing process is on industry lingo, acronyms or “I, We” attributes of a product or practice. Too much value is missed without customer-centric clarification. The clarifying transition phrases “and what this means to you,” and “the benefit to you is” when used to describe a feature or attribute powerfully clarifies exactly what the financially successful will accomplish through your product or your practice.
Assuming prospects or clients will know the full value of your products and services without communicating in and from their perspective is to simply ignore the shift in power from the seller to the buyer. Affluent individuals are not interested in what you think unless they perceive you think like they think and demonstrate it in all your messaging, illustrations, and actions. To ignore this shift which has already occurred is to join the race to the bottom on fees, pricing and sustainable revenue growth.
C. Richard Weylman, CSP, CPAE, is a Hall of Fame main platform speaker, author of the current CEOread best -selling book, The Power of Why: Breaking Out in a Competitive Marketplace & Chairman of Weylman Consulting Group. Get an edge on the competition and order this current best-seller at the link below