Let me sum up the interplay of branding and process that I have repeatedly touched on.
You want to be perceived as a consultant with a process as opposed to a salesperson with a quota, but you have to define yourself. Tell clients or prospective clients you have a process. Repeat it. Keep reminding them. If you don’t define yourself, you will be defined automatically.
It’s amazing how much trouble many top-caliber advisors have with this issue. Some advisors try so hard to make their value proposition unique that they end up reciting a long-winded elevator speech or mission statement that is, frankly, just a collection of words and sounds like everyone else. The goal isn’t to create something earth shattering or esoteric, the goal is to create something simple and clear while instantly differentiating and elevating you.
When someone gives you the opportunity to explain your value proposition, I want you to ask yourself, “What does this person really want?” How you define yourself shouldn’t address what you do in the literal sense, it should address what the person craves; a relationship with an expert who helps them achieve what they aspire to - financial independence and a greater sense of control.
By adding the phrase “I have a process”, you get their attention and you are instantly more attractive and compelling.
This goes beyond how a prospective client perceives you; it also addresses how an existing client describes you. Over time, through consistent communication, your clients will absorb this phraseology and weave it into their conversation when they have the opportunity to describe you to a friend or family member. Wouldn’t it be great if a client shined a light on you by saying,
“You should talk to my advisor. I’ve never felt better about the track I’m on with my investments and, best of all, he has a process to ensure all the pieces of my financial puzzle are in place.”
“I’ve had other advisors in the past that didn’t even come close to the professionalism of my current advisor. She has a process to ensure that everything is addressed and her service is impeccable.”
That is just the beginning. A personal branding strategy helps people connect with you on a deeper level. The firm you represent has its own brand, but you need to build a brand within that brand. This adds credibility to your overall brand, but people are connecting with you, the messenger, not just your message in terms of solutions, products or rates of return.
You have to take your branding strategy beyond just the words you verbalize in a value proposition. It has to be integrated into all other forms of communication and every step of your process.
Contributed by Duncan MacPherson