Creating and delivering real value is essential to building strong, profitable and long-lasting client relationships.
Whilst this statement may seem an obvious point, professional service businesses are facing a future where machines are highly likely to replace the routine work. For example, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne in their widely read paper ‘The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?’ put the role of a financial adviser at medium risk.
This may have little impact in the short-term but an important question to reflect upon is…
How do you currently define the value that your business delivers, and will this definition serve you, your business and your clients in the future?
I would imagine that every adviser wants their clients to experience genuine and high value but only a few seem to know the secret of really delivering on the promise of it.
What you think is of value to your clients means nothing. You can tell your clients what you think until you are blue in the face, but value can only ever only exist in their mind, not yours.
To create exceptional value, you, first and foremost, must get into the mind of your client and understand their world.
What does their world look like, to them?
What really matters, to them?
What are their most important outcomes?
What are their worries and concerns about the future?
Some advisers ask loaded questions that are intended to push the client towards purchasing products or investments and shorten the sales process.
However, this approach often creates discomfort for both the client and the adviser. It is a very ‘adviser centred’ approach and it results in distrust. Nobody wants to feel they are being pushed, no matter how gently.
The path to value creation begins through being curious, listening and having a deep respect for a client’s capacity for insight, new thinking and their potential to see their world differently.
Clarity is everything.
How is a client going to make wise and intelligent decisions if they are not clear about their own outcomes?
As the adviser, how can you provide highly compelling advice if you are not clear about what really matters to your clients?
Providing financial products, investments and setting up a client’s finances in the right way are simply the means to an end. Doing this expertly and properly is what clients rightly expect from you. It doesn’t go above and beyond in any way.
To differentiate yourself in an increasingly undifferentiated world you must go above and beyond.
What I have observed, time and time again, is that going above and beyond is firmly centred in your own sense of well-being.
Being in our well-being means we can focus 100% on our client and their needs without being weighed down with the burden our own perceived needs. It means that you create an environment where a client feels you are trustworthy, knows that you are listening and have no hidden agenda.
When you know that your sense well-being is not dependant on an outcome (like making a sale) you naturally create deeper, more collaborative and ultimately, more productive, relationships.