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Once upon a time, all it took to consistently grow your business was competence criteria:
- Knowledge and expertise;
- Case studies and happy clients;
- A friendly and professional appearance;
- Solutions to your clients’ most common problems; and
- Ability to deliver value.
But that was before a flood of financial advisors entered the profession in the last few years.
I just typed “financial advisor” into LinkedIn’s search window, and can you guess how many results it returned?
And of those 1.9 million advisors, how many do you think have the full list of the above criteria?
Most of them.
Let that sink in for a minute.
What this means is:
- Competence – or rather the appearance of competence – is no longer special.
- The competence criteria that once elevated you above your competitors is now the baseline, the bare minimum, and no longer differentiates you.
- If your marketing message is based on any one of those competence criteria, the best you can hope to achieve is a side-by-side comparison to other advisors.
On the contrary, with every new financial advisor that comes online and saturates the market further, you’ll be forced to work harder and deliver more value to compete for the same high-net worth client – just to stay in the game.
These are the non-rational thoughts that go through the mind of your prospects:
Gee, there are so many advisors to choose from and they all look pretty good. How can I tell if any of them are as reputable and trustworthy as they appear? I guess I can’t really know until I choose. That’s a risk I’ll have to take but boy does it make me uncomfortable.
Can you see why your prospect’s hiring decision is not a rational assessment of what you actually do?
There’s no way for them to judge you until after they hire you.
Consequently, their hiring decision is made on how secure they feel in choosing you, based on their perception of how much certainty and authority you project.
With so many advisors to choose from and each appearing to be highly competent, a front-end marketing process based on your competence has lost its leverage in influencing your prospect’s hiring decision.
If anything, it engenders the baseline suspicion and distrust that many of your prospects have by default, because it positions you alongside every other advisor making the same claims of credibility.
The perception of you as a trusted authority is your only true sustainable differentiation.
Being a trusted authority means that out of all the possible choices, you engender the most certainty and are therefore the best choice, or rather the only choice, for your potential client.
Your differentiation has to be you, not your competence.
You can’t be copied.
Your can’t be commoditized.
The traditional belief that your client’s hiring decision is rational is a myth.
Even though they might say that, it’s an emotional decision based on their perception of you being the right person for the job.
And that perception has little to do with your knowledge, expertise, or anything that comes post-sale.
The key shift you need to make is from a pre-sale marketing process based on your competence, to one that positions you as the trusted authority in your market.
The one who provides the most certainty and authority wins.
Ari Galper is the world’s number one authority on trust-based selling and is the most sought-after high-net worth/lead generation expert for financial advisors. His newest book, “Trusted Authority” has become an instant best-seller among financial advisors worldwide – you can get a Free copy of Ari’s book here and, when you click the “YES” button in the order form, you’ll also receive a complimentary “plug up the holes” lead generation consultation. Ari has been featured in CEO Magazine, Forbes, INC Magazine and the Australian Financial Review. He is considered a contrarian in the financial services industry and in his book, everything you learned about selling will be turned upside down. No more chasing, no pressure, no closing.
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