As published in No More Practice’s Reality Check 16 May 2013.
One of the most important questions your business needs to answer is “what does your client value?”
Clients need to be crystal clear on the answer to this question before they will be prepared to put their hand in their pocket. Yet, there are many great advisers out there who are still not convincing when it comes to both understanding and articulating value. If used properly, ‘value’ can be one of your greatest weapons for sustainable growth, now and in the future.
I am not talking about a Client Value Proposition (CVP). So many advisers have a CVP yet are still unable to clearly explain why a client should work with them, stay with them, pay them and refer them.
To be able to do this effectively, you need a compelling ‘value story’. A value story provides the content for all client conversations, queries and objections. It explains the value a client will experience through a relationship with you and your business, now and in the future. It is a framework for shaping your communications and it equips you to ensure ‘value’ is the focus of everything you say and do.
A strong value story comes to the rescue when you get thrown a curly question, a tough objection or to avoid being star struck when you meet an ideal client. It is your ‘get out of jail free card’ to ensure you always use value to your advantage.
Here are 10 strategies to help develop your value story to “catch and keep” more of the clients your business needs:
- Focus on the outcomes and benefits clients will experience first, then how they will be delivered. For example, people don’t buy drill bits …….they buy holes. The drill is how it is delivered.
- Always answer the question “what’s in it for me?” from the client’s point of view.
- Tell stories, use facts, case studies, and offer analogies to highlight your point and help people better relate to you. Mix them up and make sure they have impact, emotion and a moral to the story.
- Build your own library of words that capture a client’s position and promotes the outcomes. Weave them into a conversation where appropriate
Client You add Emotional decisionsMinimal experienceLack of timeDecisions in isolationIndecisiveness ObjectivityExpertise / knowledgeDiscipline / accountabilityBig picture perspectiveCoach / sounding board
- Use powerful words such as “you” and “your”. We help YOU to XYZ by aligning the advice to YOUR needs and what’s important to YOU.
- ‘Sleep’ (so to speak) with your clients. Understand what keeps them up at night and identify the ‘pain’ points in their life so well that they feel like you’re reading their mind.
- Convert industry speak to client speak. For example:
Industry speak Client speak Debt Management
Risk ManagementWealth Creation
Using borrowed money to your advantage
Protecting what’s important and the people
Making your money work harder and grow
Make sure the things you own go to the right people
- Leverage your favourite word from childhood – why? and always answer it.
- Watch your language. If you need to use a technical term or jargon, such as ‘fee for advice’ explain it by saying; “what I mean is…” This is your license to use it again.
- Communicate your value story with your business partners and referral sources. Don’t keep your secret weapon hidden from the hand that feeds you.
Practice ‘till this is habit. Under pressure, in role plays, in front of a mirror, video yourself, talk to yourself. Whatever works, just do it.
When it comes to focusing on value, you need to be ‘obsessed’ or ‘cult like’. It really helps!