Is It Time to Rethink Your Firm’s Value Proposition?
BY ADRIAN JOHNSTONE
cheif executive officer, Practifi
Financial advice firms offer a wide range of important services, including money management, portfolio management and financial planning. How advisors go about delivering these services—and the way they communicate the value of those offerings to clients—may constantly evolve as client priorities change.
Across the industry, firms are placing an increased emphasis on personalized services and hands-on support. Too often, that message gets lost in translation, preventing firms from attracting the right clients who stand to benefit the most from professional financial support.
If that scenario sounds familiar, you may be wondering: Is it time to rethink our value proposition? Well, it depends. Consider how your firm represents itself currently, the kinds of clients that you want to attract, and any niche specialities you want to communicate.
What is a value proposition?
Let’s go back to the basics for a minute and talk about value propositions. A value proposition is a summation of what your firm can offer clients that others can’t. This can include anything from new technology, a special strategy, or a unique approach to client relations and communications. A value proposition shows clients and prospects the ideas that your firm thinks are important and how you can deliver on them.
In the past, most value statements were all relatively similar. Each emphasized how a firm could help their clients grow their wealth. However, in today’s changing times, clients may have more specific concerns, and be in search of a firm that can meet them. Some may be looking for a firm that shares their ethical values or concerns about issues like the global climate crisis. Others may be in search of a financial advisory firm that tailors its communication approach to their clients’ culture and lifestyle. Whatever the need, one thing is clear: Today’s investors expect much more support from firms than wealth management alone.
If you think your firm needs to upgrade or refocus its value proposition, consider including the following services and capabilities to keep up with industry trends and deliver on your clients’ most pressing needs.
A continuing trend in the world of financial planning is the idea of “impact investing.” This approach considers not just the potential return of an investment, but also the potential social or environmental impact.
According to Practifi co-founder and Chief Financial Officer Adrian Johnstone, this conscious way of thinking about wealth is a “generational” shift that financial advisory firms must adjust to moving forward.
“You get a lot of activists investing now in all sorts of ways,” Johnstone explains. “They say, ‘I don’t want to be in tobacco, I don’t want to be in oil’…That might not necessarily deliver the highest dollar value return, but suddenly you’re making decisions based on the interests of the investor rather than just their economic output.”
In the modern era, a financial advisor may have clients with a wide range of do’s and don’ts for investments that meet their ethical standards. Your firm’s messaging may need to reflect that shift to reach potential clients who let their personal ethics and values inform their financial decisions.
Investment decisions aren’t the only area where financial advice firms must be more flexible with their clients. In recent years, many in the industry have shifted their perspective to tailor services and support to the specific needs of each account.
“[I’m] really looking at how do I craft services for particular clients based on what they need and what we can do for them?” says Erin Kincheloe, a tech consultant who focuses on CRMs.
According to Kincheloe, prospective clients are looking for financial advisors and planners that look beyond a cookie-cutter approach to how they provide services. Examples include limiting in-person meetings for people with extremely busy schedules and crafting strategies around lifestyle considerations.
“If I have no kids, I have no needs for services revolving around college education, so don’t bother with that,” Kincheloe notes.
Ultimately, today’s clients want to feel that their financial advisors are listening to them and addressing their needs holistically, not just financially.
With a new generation of clients looking to partner with firms that can suit their very specific interests and desire, financial advisors need to use technology that’s nimble, modern, efficient and can help them better deliver advice and communications to clients. A value proposition that emphasizes these ideas is more desirable than ever.
With personalization and overall service becoming so important, keeping track of specific client information (and being reachable and highly responsive) is essential. Platforms like Practifi have features that go beyond the typical CRM to make this possible.
“[Practifi] allows you to have information about segmenting the client, what kind of client they are … It does a great job of helping you person by person, client by client define what they need and what they get,” says Kincheloe.
A value proposition that embraces technology can help firms make it clear that they can not only deliver on a personalized approach, but also leverage new tools to communicate with clients and meet them where they’re at. Incorporating language about technology showcases the modernity that some investors may be looking for in a financial advice firm.
Let client data guide your value proposition
Using technology that tracks and centralizes client data can help bring deeper insights into your firm’s value propositions. With more relationship data at your fingertips, firms can hone in on service offerings and capabilities that deliver real value for your clients. Alternatively, these insights can also show you areas where perceived value doesn’t fully match real-world returns.
So, if you’re looking to continually iterate on your firm’s value proposition, consider investing in technology like Practifi that pulls in all your client data and provides clear insights into the value of your services. It’ll help guide the development of strong value propositions that reflect what your firm does best and resonate with the right audience.
Get in touch with our team today to see what we can do for you and your clients.