Identifying and Communicating Your Key Differentiators

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Kristen Luke

Many advisors struggle to explain to prospects what really makes them different from other firms.

In September, Bob Veres wrote an excellent article for Advisor Perspectives titled “Ranking the Top 10 ‘Differentiators’ for Advisory Firms.” His article provided a comprehensive list of the factors that help clients and prospects perceive how a firm is different from the competition.

Let’s look at how advisors can communicate the ways in which they are different – a common struggle for many firms.

Whenever I speak to advisors, I ask, “How are you different from other independent firms?” I receive the same general answers:

  • We truly care about our clients

  • We provide great service

  • We actually do financial planning (unlike firms that just say they do it)

  • We follow through on our commitments

  • We act in our clients’ best interest

While these all may be true and may help clients perceive you as different once they are in a working relationship with you, they won’t help prospects differentiate you. Every prospect is going to assume that you care, provide good service, do what you say you are going to do and are ethical. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be talking to you in the first place.