One Key Way to Differentiate Your Firm
Many financial firms today are looking for better ways to market their services to prospective clients. Had this process been initiated 20 years ago, the differentiation would have largely been centered around the quality of their team and the satisfaction of current clients.
Although a firm may have offered different/unique services, there is a good chance some number of their competitors were offering similar resources. Ultimately, it came down to the reputation of the firm and possible familiarity that prospective clients had with another existing client.
The times have significantly changed, and although quality services provided by a conscientious staff are still important, many prospective clients are looking for ways to simplify their financial management and implement as many possible technology driven options as possible.
So, how does a firm go about differentiating themselves in this new technology driven world? The answer is that you have to provide resources that match the needs of the prospective clients. I don’t believe it is ever positive to offer too many options and continually morph your product offering to the various needs of your many different clients. However, it is imperative that a firm avoids the “one-size-fits-all” mentality that would preclude them from really hearing the prospective client’s objectives.
I am always amazed when I speak with firms that will tell you, “We only work with clients that want to do business our way.” Again, I am not a believer that every client should dictate how a firm does business and create a level of inefficiency where a firm’s staff are continually remembering/deciding “how that client wants them to work.” I do, however, believe that a successful firm will provide some range of options they can comfortably become experts in to accommodate the potentially varying needs of a prospective client.
When a firm meets with a potential client, one of the most significant statements they can make is, “We want to complement what you are already doing, but help to increase your efficiency and improve your bottom line.” This statement, followed by a menu of potential options, will immediately give any prospect the perception you are not there to radically change what they have been doing, just to help them optimize that process.
Interestingly enough, we are all creatures of habit and the word “change” can cause many people to shut down and stop listening to your further suggestions. In the words of the famous Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky, “Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.” Again, this doesn’t mean you have to change how your firm does business; it does, however, mean you always have to listen to the needs of a potential client and offer services that will help them to become successful and fall within the firm’s expertise.