Are You Willing to Go to Extremes for Growth?

Are you Willing to Go to Extremes for Growth

Going to Extremes to Win Business from Independent Advisors 

I have two words for you: Extreme specificity. 

It’s time to talk about being intensely specific in terms of your brand, your messaging, your marketing, and, ultimately, the way you drive growth by connecting with the kinds of advisors you seek to serve. 

What does extreme specificity mean? Why is it important?  

In recent years, we’ve seen the number of financial advice services available to consumers explode. The same has happened with the variety of options available to financial advice and wealth management businesses—in other words, your target customers. 

Advisors face a dazzling number of choices. 

Take a fresh look at the Kitces Financial AdvisorTech Solutions Map. Five or 10 years ago, the map showed a manageable number of vendors and tech providers. It was clear. It was easy to read. Advisors could probably remember something relevant about you and each of your competitors. 

Today, the map has almost 40 major categories and plenty of sub-categories. There are around 66 entries in the Specialized Planning category alone, last time I checked. That’s a virtually unfathomable number of choices in our space, including new categories that didn't even exist just a handful of years ago. 

The latest map is exciting, because it proves we are truly in a growth industry, one that continues to be ripe for innovation and disruption for years to come. But it also spotlights a challenge for vendors trying to sell their services into this jam-packed space—including yours.  

Advisors have no time for vague generalities anymore. 

Differentiation has always been important in this market. Today, it’s critical.  And the only way to differentiate is to be specific. Extremely specific. 

In particular, you have to be specific about the benefit your product or service offers to buyers. Imagine being a poor, tired advisor staring at Michael’s chart and wondering what all these investment analytics or CRM vendors actually do, and how they differ from each other. Potential customers shouldn’t need to ask such simple questions. Vendors should tell them. 

Are you specific enough? Or do you use language like, “We help advisors save time, streamline their business and reduce portfolio risk?” Bland promises like these don’t cut it anymore. They’re not differentiated. Countless brands across the industry make exactly the same claims. 

You have to be crystal clear about the specific benefit you provide, so your buyer understands precisely where you fit in their landscape. What’s your deliverable? What tools do you replace, or integrate with? How are you different? What makes you unique? Do you have a competitive advantage?  

You can see a perfect example of extreme specificity a recent press release from Datalign Advisory. Datalign sells qualified consumer leads to large wealth management enterprises. What do these enterprises care about? Volume and conversion of qualified leads. Datalign gets right to the point. The press release says the company  referred almost $14.8 billion in assets last year to RIAs and converted $2.8 billion. Boom. The numbers are impressive, transparent and extremely specific. Datalign doesn’t muck around in esoteric jargon that says nothing.  

How do you know if a specific claim is the right one? 

What if you aren’t sure what your buyer cares about? What if you don’t know which specific part of your product or service advisors find valuable? 

I promise, you’re not alone. We talk to many organizations that are busy communicating value props that have nothing to do with anything their buyers care about. 

Fortunately, the solution is simple. Just ask buyers what they need. What problem are they trying to solve? How do they approach thinking about it? What language do they use when talking about it to peers?  

Learn from your buyers, so that your messaging mirrors what you hear them say. Use their words to express their pain points and identify what they value most. 

And don’t stop there. Find out everything your buyers think is relevant. Do they think there’s something special about your leadership team, your growth metrics, or the way you are building your business? Do you have a thought leader or subject matter expert on board who sounds truly interesting to the advisors you serve?  

If you have the courage to be transparent, advisors can get to know you beyond the standard marketing fluff too many firms fall back on. 

How to take your messaging to extremes. 

Today, a better product isn’t enough. Saving time and money isn’t enough. There are too many players in the wealth management space competing for the same client you are. There’s no room to be loose with your messaging anymore. You have to be sharp.  

The recipe is simple: 

Be curious. Talk to your buyers. Learn what they really want. Reflect back their own language.  

Be courageous. Offer transparency into your business beyond anything you’ve contemplated before. Let buyers get to know you on a deeper level. 

Be extremely specific. Use everything you learn from your customers to craft a crystal clear, highly differentiated message. 

I know that sometimes it feels scary to be specific. What if you pick the wrong thing to say? What if someone holds you to a commitment you can’t keep? You don’t have to figure all this out on your own. I love helping businesses work through their fears and start making brand promises they can stand behind. If you’re in need of guidance or even just encouragement, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on LinkedIn.  

Just remember, playing it “safe” is no longer safe at all—not if you want to grow. 

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