How to Tell Your “Story” Effectively

February 24, 2015

by Beverly Flaxington

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Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

We have tended to be very successful when we sit down with a prospect to tell our story. However, we are currently growing our staff and the newest advisors find this more challenging. It’s not that our story isn’t clear to them, but it isn’t distinct from what they have heard at other firms. How can we reinforce our story or build a new one incorporating ideas from our staff?

Malcolm R.

Dear Malcolm,

I’m impressed that you are seeking ways to bring your new advisors into the mix and tell a story that works for everyone! Too often I see original partners insisting that they have a story and that the new additions should just learn it. If you use a collaborative approach to create and reinforce the story, you will definitely get more impact from it.

We use a process we call the “so what?” approach. One of the things you can do with your whole team is set aside a few hours in a conference room and walk through this process.

It starts with identifying and listing the platform points that you use now: tenured advisors, a differentiated investment process, holistic planning, etc. You can have as many or as few as you like. Put them on a sheet of paper with space beside each that asks “so what?” Here, you must consider this point from your clients’ perspective? Why does having a tenured staff, for example, help them?

This process can be challenging because you and your team may think the value is obvious, but more often than not the client doesn’t understand why it matters to them.

As you go through the list, identify the points that are the strongest and most compelling for your team. If you know your competitors and can review your points versus theirs, you can find those areas that help you stand out.

Lastly, remember as you develop or refine your message, you are talking to your niche audience. Who do you work with best and why? How is what you do important to your niche? The more you can connect what you do and why it is good for your audience, the easier it will be for your audience to understand the significance. This can be a great way to open communication within the team, too.

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