April 24, 2012
Here are three benefit statements that focus on broad financial outcomes:
- Working with clients planning for retirement, we implement strategies to maximize the chances that they’ll achieve their financial goals. We start by customizing a financial and investment plan to each client’s unique needs and objectives. Having developed that plan, we help clients adhere to it through both good and bad markets; we see ourselves as an emotional anchor for our clients, keeping the highs from being too high and the lows from being too low.
- We help retirees ensure that they won’t have to worry about funding their retirement years, developing detailed investment and cash flow plans and stress testing those plans to ensure that they’ll deliver positive cash flow under a broad range of scenarios.
- We minimize the tax burden for our clients, using advanced tax planning strategies and employing tax advantaged insurance and investment solutions to deliver efficient after tax income.
Finally, here are three narrow benefit statements:
- We advise successful executives, professionals and business owners on maximizing tax-efficient income and transferring wealth to successive generations.
- We specialize in working with successful entrepreneurs to realize maximum value from their businesses, collaborating with existing professional advisors to implement integrated tax, estate and investment planning strategies.
- We help physicians plan for today and tomorrow, managing current business and personal finances in the most tax effective fashion possible while implementing plans to ensure that long term goals are attained.
Bringing your benefit to life
Once you’ve honed in on your key benefit, everything in your practice has to be structured to allow you to execute that benefit and to reinforce what you do to existing and prospective clients.While a strong benefit statement is a good starting point – that’s typically all it is. The challenge is to make that benefit real – for it to be more than just words.
That’s where you need to incorporate the process that allows you to deliver benefits. With existing clients, use every meeting to remind clients of your key benefit and where they stand in the process that you use to deliver that benefit. It may not be the very first thing you talk about, but it should feature prominently.
And find a way to reinforce your key benefit in written communication to clients. If you send frequent market letters, you may not want to make your benefit the centerpiece of every letter (repetition that’s too frequent can cause clients to lose interest and stop reading), but your benefit should always be there and from time to time should be prominently featured.
With prospective clients, you’ve got a different challenge. Because the typical process can look generic and abstract, look for ways to make your benefit more tangible.
One way to bring your benefit to life is with case studies. If your focus is on investment outcomes, use past periods to demonstrate how your approach produced results. And if your benefit is more broadly focused on financial issues, you can use the classic case study framework (problem, solution, results) to make your story compelling
None of this diminishes the importance of having a well-articulated process. Remember though that your process alone isn’t sufficient to convey value to existing and prospective clients; it is there to support your benefit. And never forget the lesson from my sales trainer: lead with salient benefits, follow with features.
conducts programs to help advisors gain and retain clients and is an award winning faculty member in the MBA program at the University of Toronto. To see more of his written and video commentaries, go to www.clientinsights.ca. Use A555A for the rep and dealer code to register for website access.
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