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As the commoditization of your industry continues prompting clients to focus on what you cost rather than what you’re worth, there are small steps you can take to differentiate yourself and elevate how you are perceived and described.
One example – and in the spirit of “facts tells, stories sell” – you can transform the abstract, transactional and commoditized nature of your technical wealth management and planning abilities to be more fluid, dynamic, conceptual and proprietary by giving your overall process an identity that symbolizes how you navigate clients through their journey addressing their many critical life events so that they can look to the future with anticipation rather than apprehension.
This symbol can essentially become your Nike Swoosh that triggers a moment of recognition and appreciation for your people, practice and process rather than focus on products, pricing and performance. Remember, your process isn’t promissory around short term performance, it’s a promise of a client experience – in other words what it means to be your client for a lifetime and then into multi-generations.
A great place to start is with the greeting cards you use and the wall decor in your office. One of my favourite and artistic examples is an Inukshuk – which is used by the Inuit of Northern Canada as a navigational aid for hunters and translates to mean “in the image of man”. Our friends at Lavish have a beautiful card you can use to pay tribute for birthday, referral recognition and for new client onboarding. A print on your wall is something you could point to during a strategy and tactical client review meeting to center them back to the value of your process.
Other examples of imagery our clients imprint are a Swan (symbolizing how clients sleep well at night), a sailboat (symbolizing how it’s not the wind but rather the set of the sail that determines your destination) and a bridge (symbolizing how you are the bridge to your client’s goals).
Speaking of bridges, one advisor who imprints bridges consistently told me not long ago that one of his clients recently mentioned that every time he sees a bridge he thinks about the advisor and another who called to introduce a friend and said that he explained to his friend that his advisor has a “process that puts all the pieces of the financial puzzle together and builds the bridge as we cross it to our financial goals”.
If you verbalize your value using a symbol, you make it easier for your clients to internalize your value and then socialize it to others.