Many planners make the mistake of predefining the value of their advice offering. They spend time with their business coaches and staff at a planning day, listing down all the ways their service offering adds value to a client, these benefits on top of the possible (often fictional) future financial savings or growth, surely stack up and can be defined as “the value of their advice”. Sound familiar?
It should do because that’s the way it’s been done in the past, however, in this blog I am going to throw a curveball at you.
These predefined benefits are based on your own bias, what you find valuable, and what you think your client may appreciate, but they are “your” values you are using as a benchmark, not your client’s values.
How can you understand the true value of your advice until you understand your client’s underlying values and beliefs? You know the things that motivate their behaviours, habits and will ultimately dictate their financial future way more than your financial plan will.
Your client’s values, beliefs and motivational systems will determine their hopes, dreams goals and aspirations in life, the things that they will strive for and the things that will ultimately make them happy.
If you can start your advice process getting this soft data out of their heads and into their plan. Then you can, eventually, demonstrate how your advice will assist your clients on their journey, how it will bring them closer to their desired state, make their hopes dreams goals and aspirations come true and give them confidence in the belief that they can achieve greatness and ultimately make them feel proud of themselves. Then and only then can you demonstrate how you have added value by providing advice.
So how do you do that practically? It’s not like the financial software calculators are calculating happiness. Yet.
The same way any other profession records an intangible improvement, by asking the right questions, and measuring the responses.
Imagine you asked your client a series of questions about, say, financial decision confidence, “how confident are you that you will be able to achieve that…”? Then after your advice, you ask the same question and measured the improvement, if feeling confident was something they valued, then you can point to the fact that improving their confidence from a three to a nine is part of the true value of your advice.
Before I get the barrage of replies, stating but the regulator…bla.bla.bla. Here in Australia, the regulations state “clear and measurable” benefit as the yardstick, and other professionals like doctors base their diagnosis and medication prescriptions on how much pain a patient is in, a subjective measurement that the patient comes up with, then measures improvement in the level of pain, as a measure of success.
It is important when benchmarking your value, to start with the true measure of success, and that will usually not be an unemotional number, but an emotional feeling.
What is your client’s true measure of success, is it the way they feel about their future, their ability to achieve their goals, is it around control, pride, ambitions, belonging, family, freedom, fun, security, happiness, legacy or many other possible values?
So if I ask you to describe the value you add to your clients, what do you say? What does your website say? What do your clients say?
What would you like your clients to be saying to their friends, about how your advice has been emotionally invaluable to them? This is where your true value lies.