Creating connections: How answering the ‘why’ can attract prospects

Advisers are constantly looking to improve communication with their ideal clients, hoping to attract more of them so they can grow their business. I always encourage this strategy and urge advisers to be as specific as possible with their client-facing positioning, messaging and activities.

Too often, advisers craft very general messages, attempting to appeal to everyone — the problem is, when you speak to everyone, you actually speak to no one. (For those of you who offer “comprehensive wealth management with a holistic approach to your clients’ unique goals,” I’m talking to you.)

It isn’t enough simply to say that you want to associate with a specific profession or work with a group of individuals, though. You have to attract those prospects to your firm while distinguishing your services from other advisers. Those of you who have tried to focus primarily on doctors may have learned this lesson the hard way; you explained that you work with medical professionals and told prospects you could help them, but if it sounded like a marketing pitch, it likely wasn’t very effective.

You need to be clear on the people you help and the problems you solve, but your biggest differentiator — and the most effective way to attract more of your ideal clients — might be your “why.”


For many advisers, the “why” is where they get the chance to set themselves apart. Often, there’s a backstory or personal connection that allows advisers to understand the needs of their core clientele. This, in turn, helps them build genuine relationships that are centered around a shared interest.

One adviser I work with has children with special needs, and he’s seen firsthand the impact of autism on his entire family. He has spent years working and caring for his family, as well as volunteering for support organizations in his area. The depth of his knowledge and concern goes far beyond a financial plan.

This adviser helps families with many of the same financial decisions and implications he has had to face, such as, “Are we saving enough for retirement?”, “Should we cash in some stock options?” or “Will our child be able to earn a living one day?”

In addition to the financial planning side, this adviser has accumulated a vast knowledge of his state’s school system, and resources and outside agencies that can offer assistance, and he has a notebook filled with the names of skilled professionals who can be called upon to help a client with a specific situation.

If you were a parent with a special needs child, you would seek out this adviser. You would be happy to work with him because he truly understands what you’re going through. It’s no surprise that this adviser does very little marketing and has experienced strong growth solely through referrals.


There are other aspects of your story that may have an impact on your prospects. Many advisers started out in other fields — teachers, engineers, doctors, accountants or athletes — before switching careers. So ask yourself: Despite other career choices, why did I decide to become a financial adviser?

If you were a teacher who now takes a unique, educational approach with your clients, that’s a personal and effective message to deliver. If you served as a firefighter, endangering your life to save people you’ve never met, you could build upon this sentiment. A prospect could be thinking: If you would risk your life for a stranger, then you’d probably take great care of me as a client.

Answering your “why” can help you create a compelling value proposition that reflects your strengths, highlights your differentiation and outlines who you help — that is, your ideal clients. And that will let clients know why they should choose to do business with you and continue to work with you for years to come.

[MORE: Overcoming imposter syndrome: Why advisers deserve success]

Kristine McManus serves as vice president and chief business development officer at Commonwealth Financial Network.

The post Creating connections: How answering the ‘why’ can attract prospects appeared first on InvestmentNews.

Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.

Andrew Vincent
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He's also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.
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