5 steps to creating your unique value proposition

Gabriel Garcia, Managing Director, Advisor Client Experience

E*TRADE Advisor Services

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When introducing your firm, connecting with a center of influence, or meeting with a prospective client, how do you elicit a response of, “Great! Tell me more”? How do you imprint on others how they should speak about you? How do you anchor your team to deliver the same message?

You need a clear value proposition.

Creating your unique value proposition

To pack the greatest punch with your value proposition, you’ll need to work collaboratively and do some legwork. Try these five steps:

1. Determine what makes you unique.

Think of a combination of function and emotion—not just what you do, but how you do it, and why.

As an exercise, think about the clients you most enjoy working with, and for whom you feel you do your best work. Who are those clients? What are the things that make that work your best? Create a word cloud listing all these things.

2. Identify your ideal client base.

Next, set up a grid to identify key attributes your clients share, such as average age, the typical need presented at onboarding, profession, personal attributes, and similar hobbies or lifestyles (are they outdoor enthusiasts, frequent travelers, academics)? The point of a value proposition is to define yourself for your optimal clients so you can focus your message and attract more of them by speaking to their needs.

3. Laser focus on your clients’ values.

Talk with your existing clients, ask questions, and listen for the emotional needs that drive their decision-making. Those needs may be subtle, but they’re exactly what your value proposition statement should tap into.

4. Draft your value proposition statement.

As a final step, reach out to some of your closest key clients, associates, or peers, and ask, “When you think of us, what comes to mind? How would you describe us?” These insights are gold.

Synthesize what you’ve collected as a rough draft—what you offer, which clients you aim to serve, what unique benefits you provide, what emotional needs you support, why you do what you do. Draw on the information you’ve gathered and don’t be afraid to tap into your personal story. Clients want to know what you care about most.

5. Test and tailor your value proposition.

Your unique value proposition isn’t something that’s meant to live in your desk drawer. Socialize it with your internal team and your centers of influence. Everyone should be able to articulate it. Consider opening each meeting with a different person on your team delivering your value proposition so everyone gets used to incorporating it.

You created it…now what?

Developing your value proposition is only the start. The next step is to communicate it to your ideal clients.

Collect stories of how you’ve helped clients—concrete examples go a long way in connecting with prospects. Reiterate your value proposition to clients when asking for referrals. And don’t forget the power of your website and social media: Your value proposition should be clear and consistent across channels. You may also find that using a customer relationship management (CRM) system to tailor your message to individual clients can be effective.

Your value proposition can be a powerful tool to help your “ideal client” understand what you have to offer. Make it easy for them to choose you.

Contact us to learn more about E*TRADE Advisor Services, and follow us on Twitter (@etrade4rias) and LinkedIn for the latest advisor insights.

A version of this article first appeared in ThinkAdvisor          

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