There are no USPs in financial planning.
However, in an increasingly noisy world, it’s vital that potential clients understand the things that make you different.
Recommendations from existing clients and professional connections are the most important (and the best) type of new enquiry for most firms. It’s here that standing out from the pack is particularly important. A prospect might be referred to more than one adviser/planner, before deciding who to contact they will head to Google and start comparing options. If you’re visible and impressive (by promoting your differentiators) you improve the chances of them choosing you.
But here’s the thing, very few firms take the time to develop and promote their points of difference. So, to help, here are nine ways to stand out from the pack and differentiate your business.
1. Google reviews
Your future clients first meet you on the results page after searching for you online.
You need to dominate that page and your Google My Business listing (the information box on the top right-hand corner of the page) should also appear. It’s here that you’ve got the first chance to impress by collecting as many Google reviews as possible.
It’s a massive differentiator too as most firms have very few Google reviews. Our research shows that only 1 in 258 clients has left a Google review for their adviser/planner. If you need more evidence, pop onto Google, search for “financial adviser near me” and you will see immediately what I mean.
2. Complete your Google My Business listing
Your Google My Business listing dominates the results page following a brand search. Your prospective clients can’t miss it. That’s why reviews are so important, but it’s also why the listing itself needs to be carefully completed.
Again though, very few firms actually do it. You should include your:
- Logo and images of your team
- Contact details
- Opening hours
- Links to your online diary if you have one
- The services you offer
- Company description
- Accessibility, plus health & safety information
3. Build VouchedFor reviews
We’ve explained many times why you should use both VouchedFor and Google to collect online reviews. If you need it though, click here for a reminder.
VouchedFor reviews are a great way to differentiate you and your business:
- They display after a search for your name, unlike Google reviews which display when someone looks up your business name
- The reviews can be displayed on your website using the dynamic widget
- Various other certificates and reports are provided to help you promote your business
- You can qualify each year as a Top-Rated adviser or firm in the guide published in The Times (only 20 firms qualified last year, if you’re one of them, that’s a great point of difference)
4. Prominently display your Chartered/Accredited status
If your business is Chartered or Accredited, it sets you apart from others. However, after working hard to achieve this elevated status many firms suddenly get very shy, hiding the logos in their website’s footer. That gives their Chartered/Accredited status the same status as their regulatory wording!
Instead, display these logos prominently and link to a page on your website where the prospect can learn more about how it differentiates your business and how it will benefit them.
5. Publish your fees on your website
Only 5% of firms publish their fees online. Therefore, it’s a great way to differentiate your business and stand out.
It’s also the perfect way to demonstrate transparency, while advisers/planners who do it tell me that it reduces fee friction from new clients. That said, we also need to acknowledge that there are disadvantages to online fee disclosure, and it isn’t for everyone.
If you choose to disclose your fees online, you need to do it properly:
- Make sure the page is easy to find in your website’s navigation. There’s no point hiding it away, where no one will see it!
- Don’t, under any circumstances, link to a compliance document. They’re hard to read, dull and (usually) full of jargon
- Be specific. A prospective client should be able to easily calculate how much they will pay. We’ve seen some firms give wide ranges, for example: “Our initial fee will be between £2,500 and £10,000”. This is pointless. Some people will anchor to the lower end and be unhappy when the fee is larger, others will focus on the upper end and decide not to get in touch
- Show the services delivered. Too many firms disclose fees, but forget to explain what’s actually provided in return
- Demonstrate value in the form of client videos, ideally explaining why your fees represent such great value for money
- Finally, if your charging structure is significantly different to the norm, or your fees are lower than average, show comparisons.
6. Client videos
Client videos are the best way to demonstrate your value, however, only a tiny proportion of firms include them on their website.
Displaying the videos on your homepage, and prominently elsewhere on your website, shows prospects that you deal with people like them and demonstrates value. Once recorded, they can be used elsewhere too:
- Social media messages
- To demonstrate the value you add to other members of your team
- In your first meeting confirmation email to reassure the prospect that choosing you was the right decision and that you’ve got their back: “You’re coming to talk to us about your retirement, here’s a video of Mr & Mrs Jones, they were in the same position as you and we’ve helped them to retire successfully.”
7. Press coverage
Press coverage raises your profile, builds trust, and positions you as a go-to expert.
However, very few firms seriously engage with the press or effectively promote any coverage they receive.
If you’d like to get more press coverage, our latest free webinar is the perfect place to start. Click here to learn more and reserve your place.
In the meantime, if you have received coverage in the past, build a page on your website to show it off. Then, include logos of the organisations you’ve been published in prominently on your website.
8. Publish your client survey results
Client surveys are the perfect way to gather data to use in your marketing while understanding your clients’ satisfaction levels and where things could be improved.
However, most firms only use the results internally. That’s a mistake.
Firstly, the results should be shared with your clients. After all, they’re the people who took the time to complete the survey and who will be affected by decisions you make following the results.
Secondly, publish the results on your website for prospective clients to see. They will be impressed by:
- The positive results (assuming that they are!)
- Your transparency in publishing the figures
- Your candour in sharing any information that isn’t perfect.
9. Develop individual pages on your website for every team member
A prospective client will naturally want to know more about the people they might be working with. That’s why team pages on adviser/planner websites are so popular.
Your team page should display every member of your team from the Chairperson to the latest apprentice through the door.
Then, every member of the team needs an individual page. These pages should be detailed, including both professional and personal information along with professionally taken images.
Your team pages help potential clients to start getting to know the people they might be working with. You might be nervous about doing so, but let your personalities shine through, your future clients will thank you for it.
Differentiators = more referrals and recommendations
Our latest research shows that 95% of clients would recommend their financial adviser/planner to other people. That’s testament to the value financial advice/planning adds to clients lives. And we need more people to benefit from it. Developing and promoting your points of difference will help to achieve that aim.
This isn’t hard either; building a process for collecting online reviews is straightforward. Developing your website’s team section might take some time but it’s pretty easy. Your Google My Business listing can be completed in a couple of hours.
We get it though, you’re busy with the day job! So, if you’d like to understand how we can help email [email protected] or call 0115 8965 300.