The 3 Ps: Crafting your unique Value Proposition

There are plenty of formulas out there for creating an effective Value Proposition. Some are more useful than others, but none of them are geared toward the personal brands that experts, financial advisors need to build in order to win trust from people who want a partner in matters of money. So what I’ve developed is the 3 Ps: Problem, Product, and Proof.


The problem 

This is what your ideal client is desperate to solve, what’s keeping them up at night, and what you’re uniquely qualified tosolve for them. Are they going to be OK during retirement? Are precious dollars leaking away due to tax inefficiencies? Will their children ever understand how to steward this wealth?

While every client has different problems, your ideal clients share acommon set of fears or challenges. Remember, even if everyone you ever work with doesn’t share this problem, the ideal client that you’re targeting does. What’s the problem that you most want to solve for people?   

The product  

This is your unique offering. As we think through each component of your offering, each will go in one of three categories: Table stakes, differentiators, and game changers.

  • Table stakes: These are the things you offer or attributes of your business that are just the cost of entry. If you’re a financial planner, you should be a CFP and offer financnial planning. Otherwise, you’re not really a financial planner. There’s nothing unique about that. . . these are just the boxes you need to tick in order to BE the kind of expert you claim to be. We frequently hear financial advice enterprises touting their table stakes features as part of their value proposition. “We’re fiduciaries,” or “We’re planning first!” just sound like table stakes to a prospect. In their minds, anyone should be able to say this.
  • Differentiators: These are exactly what they sound like . . . services or qualifications that are different—either on their face or because of how they’re packaged. Maybe in addition to your table stakes offering as a financial advisor,you use a certain type of assessment or follow a particular philosophy that not everyone uses. Perhaps you have a special emphasis on tax planning or have CPA capabilities on staff. These are NOT groundbreaking offerings, but qualifications or service offerings not everyone has. Your differentiator could also be a specific area of expertise—maybe you only work with health care professionals or women who have just been divorced or widowed. Or maybe your differentiator is a specific philosophical alignment—values-based investing or alternatives as a standard in the portfolios you design.
  • Game changers: These are the things you offer that you believe are so unique and so relevant to your audience that they have the potential to be your signature offering. Perhaps you’ve created a fitness and wealth package that’s core to your offering, where your clients also get access to a physical trainer and nutritionist and get to participate in your annual wellness retreat. Maybe, since you tend to work with families where both parents are high-earning, busy executives, your cashflow planning includes developing a plan for the home and lifestyle services required to make life run smoothly –like housekeepers, tutors for the kids, live-in nannies, etc. What’s the offering that you’ve created for your ideal client that you can package in a way that no one else does?

If you’re looking at the last category and fretting because you don’t have a game changer yet, don’t worry. Typically, you find your game changer the more youlearn about and interact with your ideal client As you get deeper into what they really need and see what content they essentially respond to, you’ll identify Game Changer opportunities.

To get a clear view of your Product within the Value Proposition, start by inventorying your existing offering. What components are Table Stakes? Which are Differentiators? Do you already have an idea or two for a Game Changer offering?

Once you have a clear idea of how much of your offering is Table Stakes vs. Differentiator or Game Changer, you know where you need to put some work in. If you have no Differentiating elements in your offering, for example, it’s time to do some thinking onthat. What does your Best. Client. Ever! need that you can offer above and beyond your Table Stakes?

The proof. Show us the evidence. 

The last P in your Value Proposition is the Proof. This is the hurdle that you must overcome in order to show that you really can solve the problem. Proof comes in the form of testimonials from past clients, certifications and degrees (these are table stakes in some cases, but also act as proof of your qualifications and ability to do the work), specific areas of training, or statistics that say a certain approach you use does work. The proof is what makes the user feel safe placing their money with you.

Creating Your Value Proposition  

Now that we have a clearer idea of the Product, Problem and Proof, let’s build out your complete Value Proposition. The Value Proposition lives where the PROBLEM your audiences are having overlaps with the PRODUCT you offer, and the PROOF that you can solve this problem. Let’s break down what each of these is.


Use this format to craft your unique Value Proposition:

The solution I offer is: ____________________________

The results I create are: ___________________________

You know it’s true because of:

  • Proof point A
  • Proof point B
  • Proof point C

For example:

The solution I offer is financial planning for high-income families with little savings.

The results I create area a sense of control over their finances, greater stability, and more savings for near-and long-term needs.

You know it’s true because of:

  • Multiple testimonials from those who have worked with me
  • An average increase of budget allocation to saving and investing of 48% after working with me for a year
  • Referrals from 82% of my clients

You’ll notice that your ValueProposition is inherently fact-based. Its purpose is to serve as a guidepost for the business as it evolves. When you think about branching out and creating new offerings, you can ask yourself—does this offering adhere to the Value Proposition? And if not, the question becomes: Is it time to expand our Value Proposition?

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