You’re Not Different (But You Could Be)

I know you want to be “different.”  That’s why you may have a tab on your website that says something like, Why We’re Different.  I’ve looked at hundreds of those tabs.

Sorry to tell you this, but you might have named the tab, Why We’re the Same.

Every RIA is a fiduciary (by law).  Most RIA’s charge transparent fees.  They all must disclose conflicts of interest.  They likely manage portfolios and do comprehensive financial planning.  They all “care” (or profess to do so).  Many have impressive credentials, just like you.

So, how do you differentiate yourself when you share these traits with thousands of others?

Lower fees

Most RIAs charge a bundled fee, based on assets under management.  If you charge significantly lower fees, or if you charge an hourly fee, monthly retainers or some other arrangement, that’s a significant point of differentiation.

Trumpet this difference!  Provide a calculator showing how a small difference in fees, when compounded, add up over time.

More investors are fee conscious today than ever before.  Advisors who offer the same (or similar) service at a lower cost have a competitive advantage.  Don’t be shy about featuring it.

Niche marketing

A friend needed to have a benign growth removed from his eyelid.  He asked me to research “facial plastic surgeons”.  Initially, the selection of a facial plastic surgeon made sense to me…until I did the research.  I ended up referring him to a specialist I didn’t know existed: An oculoplastic surgeon.  These surgeons are board certified ophthalmologists, who have completed additional fellowship training.  They are specialists in eyelid surgery.

My friend followed my recommendation and had a favorable outcome.  Afterward, he told me his surgeon only operated on eyelids.

Advisors typically want to serve everyone, because they believe that’s the biggest market.  But, as my friend’s experience indicates, you might generate more business by appealing to only a segment of the market.  A physician might be more comfortable using an advisor who specializes in physicians.  Going one step further, an orthopedic surgeon might be attracted to advisor who focuses on his or her specialty.

One final tip:  If you don’t have an obvious point of differentiation, ditch your explanation of why you’re “different.”  It costs you credibility.

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