The essence of a unique value proposition is to answer the consumer question “what is it the value that you offer, and why should I buy it from you?” In other words, what is it that you uniquely do that can’t be gotten anywhere else, unless doing business with you? In an increasingly competitive advisory firm environment, having a clearly defined unique (and compelling!) value proposition is essential to getting clients to do business with you and not someone else.
Yet in a recent new study on advisor value propositions, Pershing Advisor Solutions finds that in reality, most advisor value propositions are not actually all that unique, nor are they necessarily delivered in a very compelling manner. Instead, advisor value propositions are rife with industry-specific jargon, and what are apparently intended as “differentiators” often describe what are little more than “table stakes” – the minimum required just to have a seat at the table and be considered a potential solution at all, but certainly not a unique and differentiated one that helps the advisor stand out from the competition.
In the past, providing customized, individualized advice solutions specific to client needs form a trusted, experienced, credentialed advisor may have been an effective way to stand out in a competitive landscape filled with “stockbrokers” and “insurance agents”. But going forward, the Pershing study results highlight that not only do advisors need to better describe the value they do provide, but they will also need to more clearly focus on how they can truly differentiate themselves beyond the minimum table stakes, whether it’s by delivering a genuinely unique client experience, providing services and solutions that really cannot be found elsewhere, or simply focusing in on a particular type of clientele that allows the firm to go deeper in its services and solutions than what any generalist can match.