This article was co-written with my friend, Rosemary Smyth, an international coach to financial advisors. The article is also posted on her website.
When you have a toothache, you don’t go to your local mechanic’s shop to have a cavity filled and when your car isn’t running properly, you don’t pay a visit to your dentist. Rather, you go to the professional who has the education, experience, and qualifications to solve it. You go to the EXPERT.
As a financial advisor, you have a level of expertise in the industry. Unfortunately, so does every other financial advisor out there. The perception among prospects is that financial advisors are all clones; they look and act the same, they all know the same information, have basically the same products and they all provide similar care and attention to their clients. So what would motivate a client to go to one advisor versus another?
You can separate yourself from the pack by building a unique and compelling expert status. An expert status provides new advisors with a head-start advantage in the industry and seasoned advisors with a way to strengthen their client base. An expert status benefits you by:
- Clarifying and focusing your marketing efforts.
- Helping you to zoom in on a specific target market.
- Making you more memorable to those you connect with.
- Assisting your existing clients to refer you to others.
- Guiding how you develop your career.
Creating your expert status
Start with these steps. You may need to get some help from trusted friends or family members to help you.
- Make a list of your strengths and values that describe you best. List as many as you can (although be cautious to avoid listing the characteristics that you wish described you but really don’t. Start with what you have, not what you aspire to be.)
- Make a second list of the things that are interesting and memorable about you. This might include your background, your interests your personal style, and even your hobbies.
- Make a third list of the things that you have in common with your target market. For example, there might be demographic or psychographic similarities, such as language, ethnicity, education, philanthropy, etc.
- Make a fourth list describing the problems that you solve for your target market. Focus on the problems you like to solve and are particularly good at versus everything you can do. (And remember: Keep it focused on problems you solve rather than products or services you offer. This is a key difference).
Now you have four lists that describe aspects of who you are, who you like to work with, and how you can help them. Using these four lists, choose a couple of items from each list as a starting point to put together a unique expert status that not only describes you in a way that is unique among financial advisors.
Here are some examples of excellent expert statuses advisors might create:
- “I’m an expert at helping women as they navigate the financial complexities of divorce.”
- “I’m an expert at helping seniors who are downsizing and need estate planning.”
- “I’m a Mandarin-speaking advisor who works with new immigrants and their families.”
- “I’m a former Olympian who works with athletes to help them with their unique financial planning challenges.”
Notice how these one-sentence descriptions immediately portray expert status, demonstrating problems that are solved, target markets that are served, and the advisor’s experience and available financial solutions.
Using the four lists you made earlier, create a few of these one-sentence expert status descriptions for yourself and review them against the following questions:
- Do you like how this describes you?
- Are there people with whom this expert status would resonate?
- Can you see a growing demand for this expert status in the future?
- Which expert status feels the most authentic and motivates you to get up each day and give your very best?
- If you have some experience in the industry already, what has worked for you?
Ask family and friends for feedback. Don’t expect to nail down an answer immediately, and expect to adjust this expert status over time.
If you’re not sure how to construct these one-sentence expert statuses, here is a useful template to use: “My intention is to work with (my perfect prospect) ______ because I am particularly adept at helping them with _________, and they get ________ as a result.”
How to use your expert status
Once you have an expert status that you feel is authentic to you and attractive to your target market, revisit your prospecting efforts to ensure that everything you do aligns with this new expert status:
- Does your expert status resonate with your audience as something they find trustworthy and memorable?
- Does your marketing communicate your expert status to your audience?
- Are there networking activities that are more closely aligned with your new expert status than the ones you are currently using?
- How can you communicate your expert status to your existing clients to help them refer others to you more actively?
- What education and personal development can you invest in to help you strengthen this expert status?
- How can you serve in the community to enhance your expert status and to build your reputation as an expert?
- What other experts can you add to your network to act as centers of influence (COIs), who would help to support your expert status and assist you in helping your clients?
Your expert status may seem like it has the potential to limit the number of people who come to you, as well as the services you offer. Counter-intuitively, it can actually make you more attractive to your prospects because an expert status separates you from your peers and elevates you.
Take action to start building expert status today by making the four lists and gather those components together into an exciting, authentic, attractive sentence that describes why your prospects should view you as THE expert.
Rosemary Smyth, MBA, CIM, FCSI, ACC, is an author, columnist and an international business coach for financial advisors. She spent her career working at leading investment firms before pursuing her passion for coaching. She lives in Victoria, BC. Visit her website at www.rosemarysmyth.com. You can email Rosemary at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aaron Hoos, MBA, has worked in the financial industry since 1997. Formerly a stockbroker, insurance broker, and award-winning sales manager, today he writes for the financial and real estate industry as an educator and marketer. His first book, The Sales Funnel Bible, helps advisors master their sales funnel. Visit his website at AaronHoos.com and follow him on Twitter @AaronHoos.