Developing your advice business

How to optimise value in your client proposition

Creating value for your clients over the long term goes beyond recommending financial products and designing financial plans. Your value as a financial adviser lies in the quality of the relationships you build with clients and how they perceive your service and client offering. During a recent Zoom webinar, Jon Mackintosh, Encore SA co-founder and managing director, presented ideas for building an advice business that reflects what you value most. Watch the recording of the presentation and read a summary of some of the key takeouts below.

Key takeouts

While financial products form an important component to financial planning, clients want and need the service of advice and not just a product. You need to decide what your value is and project it outwards. This was the key message delivered by Jon Mackintosh, Encore SA co-founder and managing director.

He said many next generation advisers starting out in the industry place far too much focus on leveraging the brand value of the product providers they work with as a means of building trust and credibility with clients. But by focusing on the value of the product or the company behind the product, what you’re ultimately doing, he explained, is detracting from your own value.

“You can’t design your business on other people’s values if you want to have value proposition as a business. Your value proposition has to be built on what you and your stakeholders are about,” advised Mackintosh.

Creating your value proposition

There are three parts to value:

  1. Personal values
  2. What you do to create value
  3. The perception of value you create

The process of defining and developing your value proposition begins with a great amount of self-awareness for what you do well, what you’re passionate about and the personal values you live by.

Once you have identified your personal values, you can begin to work on integrating behaviours that reflect those values. It is through these behaviours, that must be visible, that you create value.

“If you want people to perceive your business as an asset, they have to perceive (intrinsic) value,” Mackintosh advised.

Human capital, reputational value, experience, strategic value and intellectual capital value are among some of the instrumental values that build intrinsic value.

Redefining your service model

Wearing his hat as a judge for the Financial Practice of the Year competition, Mackintosh has identified the lack of ongoing service to clients, structure, process and clarity as the common weaknesses found in many advice businesses. To remedy this, consider sending your clients a generic monthly check-in email that reminds them of the important changes in their life that you need to know about. It requires some effort but adds immediate value to clients who will hear from you much more frequently as a result.

He encouraged advisers to redefine their service model by providing different services at sliding price points. Using an airplane analogy, he said many advisers spend time and resources offering first-class service to clients who are paying for an economy ticket.

Think of yourself as the captain of the plane and consider your clients’ financial journey as the destination you are flying to. Your job is to get your clients to their destination and your clients must choose the class in which they want to be transported.

However you decide to design your service model, winning with your client value proposition involves finding the connection between the value you deliver and how clients want to experience that value.

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