Simple, straightforward language.
That’s the most powerful, effective way to communicate value propositions to prospects. Anything more can get confused or lost in translation.
Taking a cue from the FinTech industry, let’s examine the life of a financial advisor for a moment. Clarity helps thousands of advisors communicate their proposal. Two essential means to differentiate your firm are:
- Simplify your message
- Explain your (often niche) value proposition without gimmicks
As an advisor, having the knowledge, skills, and capabilities to tailor a financial plan, establish and follow a rigorous investment strategy, and maintain a solid set of books and records are vital — no doubt about that. However, on a first date would we ever talk about having kids, where we want to be buried, and where we’d like to spend our retirement together? Probably not — unless you want to scare off your date! In other news, you kept your dating message simple and didn’t go into detail — yet. Same is true for your business, find a way to simplify your message. Life (and working relationships) is a journey; it will take some time to get to a level of comfort.
Many websites and proposals lay out an unfathomable amount of information. How often have investors been scared off by 100 pages of “light reading” or didn’t click “contact us!” on a website because they got overwhelmed with options? Boil it down to one or two takeaways for the investor. It’s not about convincing them all of the ways you can serve them, but something short, something memorable.
As a thought exercise, pick a field you’re not very familiar with—dentists, contractors, plumbers, or a family practice doctor. Look up local websites and act as if you were vetting them because you were interested in switching. Is their message clear? Do you know what they do or their specialization? Do they give you a convincing reason for why they are the answer? If you are convinced to get in touch, do they have a smooth, quick way to get hold of them without losing you as a prospect? Are you looking to solve 5-10 things all at once, or just get started with the first thing?
In the same way, demonstrate a simple, easy-to-grasp message to explain your firm in light of your niche. Many investors want your services, but they want to vet their choices. A significant component is ensuring you’re the clearest — not the loudest or flashiest. They need you, not a fancy website. They may want to know the technical components later in your relationship. Right now, they want clarity instead of enough information to make their eyes glaze over, just like our dating analogy up above. A few concrete examples of how you can improve your presentations:
- Common ground. Start by focusing on what matters to your client. Ever try to win an argument by starting from the point of disagreement? Instead, find your common ground. Discuss why you agree there. Then realize you agree on 90%, and then with that as a reference point, discuss the remaining 10%.
- Brevity is king. Shorten your client reports. Do they need to be thatlong? What can you cut out that isn’t absolutely necessary? Alternatively, what could you cut out that you could merely mention, “I reviewed XYZ too, but I just wanted to focus on this for now. If you’re interested in XYZ, just let me know a good time to discuss it.”
- Client-centricity. Similar to the reports, prepare your meetings for what matters to your client. It may make sense to prepare ten different analyses, but if your client isn’t ready for it, slow down. When I was a practicing CPA, I once gave a client their “management recommendations” list which encompassed well over 15 items they needed to “fix.” While I naively thought this was perfectly helpful, it was overwhelming and defeating to them. All they saw were how terrible I thought their processes were. I could have proposed a solution in a more straightforward, more step-by-step manner to get to the same conclusion of helping them become a better version.
As you’re thinking about who you are and how to serve your clients and future clients, remember to keep it simple. They should walk away with that single, memorable line. In a word: clarity.
Need an elevator pitch? Try one of these:
- A lot of people know how much they have, but they don’t know if that is enough. I help investors learn their chances for success, discover any potholes in their future, and find ways over, under, around, and through.
- Many good people want to do the right thing and provide for their future self, but they don’t know how. They want to avoid the costly mistakes they read about in the paper. I help guide people to make the right decisions so they get that future they want.