All advisors sell the same thing – an outcome. Whether that’s confidence, clarity, comfort or another buzzword, at some level they all align life with wealth for their clients. In order to distinguish yourself from competitors, the story you tell must be two things: compelling and authentic. Advisors can usually check off the “compelling” component right away. Offering confidence, clarity, comfort, etc. is attractive to clients and prospects. The nature of an advisory business – helping clients – is compelling in and of itself. The challenge advisors face in telling their story is to do it authentically – it’s what really differentiates one compelling story from another. It’s what gets a client or prospect to nod their head as they listen to an advisor’s spiel.
Find Your Voice
The trick is in the voice an advisor uses. It has to be their own. Their own language, their own style. Anything other than their voice will not sound right to their clients. Advisors struggle with authenticity because they’re deep in the weeds of their practice. They’ve discovered what’s successful, but they’ve never sat down to uncover why what they do works. These successful yet unaware advisors are who I call unconscious competents. They don’t know how close they are to crossing off that authentic piece. In fact, most advisors are already using their own voice – they just don’t realize they are, and therefore can’t amplify it or reinforce it in their messaging. Advisors often need a third party to capture their messages and thoughts on paper and organize them. As an Executive Business Coach at Carson, I serve in this capacity for many of my clients, walking them through a process to help them uncover their voice and identify their differentiators.
If you don’t have a business coach, involve other people close to you – your team, advisory council or even a spouse or significant other – and imitate the process detailed below.
First I ask advisors to pretend that I’m a prospect and to try to sell to me. They should be able to:
- Tell me why they come to work every morning
- Explain their planning process
- Share their mission statement
During this exercise, advisors end up repeating a word or phrase – this is their differentiator. One coaching client I worked with used the word “confident” a few times as he relayed a story about a prospect who walked into his office and almost immediately signed more than $1 million with him. When he asked her why she signed so quickly with an advisor she had just met, she said her friend had told her how comfortable and confident she felt every time she left his office. The new client said she wanted to feel the same way. The advisor realized he consistently used the same phraseology when talking to clients and prospects. The original friend heard the advisor use those words so often she associated those keywords with him. That’s the exact scenario you want for your firm. Your brand is nothing more than what clients and prospects think and say about you. And you want them to remember only three to four things about you. You don’t want clients to consume a lot of calories.
Once you land on a couple key phrases or words, it’s time to amplify them. Build a tagline around it, brand your online platform with it. Everything you say and do – in brochures, on your website and in client meetings – should use the same language. You want to constantly reinforce your messaging to your clientele and prospects.
How do you know when you’ve struck gold, per se? Go back to your team, advisory council or significant other. Share your messaging with the people who know you. If they’re nodding their head in agreement, saying “that’s you, that’s authentic,” you’ve got it right. If they’re looking at you like you’re crazy, you’ve missed the mark. Don’t overthink it, but don’t take the easy way out and use phrases that already exist. Even though it might be a compelling tagline, if it’s not authentic your clients and prospects will see right through it. This process isn’t about creating a story and running with it. Your story and your voice already exist. Most advisors don’t realize how close they are to taking their firm to the next level. It’s like if advisors are building a bridge across a river that’s one mile wide. They’ve put in the hard work and completed 5,000 feet of the bridge. All they have left to finish is 280 feet. The last percentage of work requires getting in touch with their story and solidifying processes. It’s a small chunk comparatively to everything else an advisors does, but to them it’s the hardest. With the right coach and team behind you, it can become much easier.
Interested in gaining that third party perspective? Coaching could be the best option for you. Schedule a consultation with our team to discover how a Carson Coach can improve your business.