April 5, 2012

Is your RIA's value proposition the missing link for client referrals?

How do advisors set the stage for client referrals?  A few recent blog posts got me thinking about this topic.


On his blog The Client Driven Practice, Stephen Wershing recently made some nice points about "trigger phrases" to help clients identify potential referrals for their advisor.  Michael Kitces of Nerd's Eye View posted some interesting ideas on the possibility that comprehensive or "holistic" advisors are less "referable" than those that focus on a particular niche.

Stephen and Michael make good cases for the importance of clarity--clarity in life events that may trigger a need for financial advice and clarity in the solutions that the advisor provides.

In our experience, your RIA's value proposition can become the central element that will make your firm more easily "referable".  A clear value proposition is also one of the keys to differentiating your practice and winning new business.

Someone taught me a long time ago that the secret to client management is to:

1) understand why you were hired,
2) deliver, and
3) remind clients routinely why they hired you and how you have delivered.

Your firm's value proposition fits perfectly into this messaging cycle.  Over time, these words become your brand.  And your brand is what your clients remember when the topic of financial advisory services comes up with potential referrals.

Solidifying your value proposition is not something that can be done in isolation.  For any strategic exercise to really gain traction, it is best to commit the time to a broader strategic planning effort.  Then, you can be sure that each of the moving parts within your RIA are all driving towards the same goals and that all of your resources are being deployed in ways that will create value for your clients.

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