In our business it is easy to be viewed as a commodity. We all sell, promise and offer pretty much the same as our competitors…at least that’s the case if you ask the general public. So, I think it is worth looking at why and when people are willing to pay for information.
There are basically 8 reasons people will pay for information:
Convenience – Hey, we can all read maps…we can even get a map drawn for us on Google Maps online, but what does almost every car have today? GPS devices. It’s just plain easier (and more fun) to have a device tell us where to go. It saves having to stop on the side of the road to look at the map. It saves us from having to search all over the car or house for the map.
Same thing with our lettuce and carrots… is it really that hard to wash our produce? And yet, virtually nobody does it anymore because it’s more convenient to just buy it already washed and bagged for us.
So, what are you doing to make your practice more convenient for your prospects and clients?
- Do you give prospects maps to your office?
- How convenient is your parking?
- Do you provide information that is easy to understand and access?
- Do you provide one stop shopping for all their financial needs
- Tax preparation
- Legal needs
Some say that the future of our industry is to have all the clients’ financial needs under one roof. Whether you believe this or not, it still pays to sit down and think about how you can make your practice more convenient for those that you serve.
Efficiency – We could probably all change the oil in our cars if we wanted to, but with today’s cars, it is more efficient to have it done for us. We do not have to spend time finding the right tools, setting up, taking down, and finding a place to dispose of the used oil. It is just more efficient to drive in and have it done for us.
What are you doing to make your clients financial situation more efficient?
- At tax time do you give your clients a tax package to save them from having to gather the info themselves?
- Do you offer your clients easy to read, consolidated statements so they can see at a glance how they are doing?
Make sure you pay attention to even the smallest complaints that your clients or prospects have about dealing with their finances. Use that information to come up with ways to make things more efficient for them.
Organization – People pay thousands of dollars to organize their closets and garages. People love services that can help them be more organized in the crazy, busy world we live in today. Are you helping your clients stay organized?
- Do you help your clients with their filing by letting them know what records they should keep and what they should throw?
- Do you provide them with some sort of “filing system” to keep their statements? Whether a three-ring binder or something fancier?
- Are you their quarterback with other professionals to make sure they get their legal, property casualty and other services done?
When you combine Convenience, Efficiency and Organization together, you have a powerhouse service that people will be knocking down your door to get at.
Guarantees – Professionals often think that they cannot legally offer guarantees. You may not be able to guarantee return. A doctor may not be able to guarantee the success of an operation. But professionals can guarantee service.
What guarantees are you providing in your practice?
- Do you guarantee that your clients can access you 24/7 by giving them your cell phone number? Or a call back within 2 hours during normal business hours?
- Do you guarantee that people will find their introductory meetings with you helpful and non-salesy?
- Do you guarantee your seminars will be helpful or you will donate $100 to the charity of the attendee’s choice?
In our industry, you just need to be a little creative… but you can come up with all sorts of guarantees if you put on your thinking cap. People will pay for guarantees.
Authority – People pay for authority, plain and simple. What are you doing to enhance your authority?
- Have you written a book? Or had an article published in a magazine?
- What professional organizations are you actively participating in?
- What designation or certification are you currently pursuing?
A series 7, 65 or insurance license does not make you an authority. It merely makes you licensed. Never stop pursuing greater knowledge and expertise.
Quality – People pay for perceived quality. We do with our cars… our coffee… our vacuum cleaners… virtually everything that we buy. When viewed from the outside, does your practice convey quality?
- What does your office building say about you? Is it run down? Is the parking lot clean?
- What does your office say about you? What does your furniture look like? What type of lighting do you have?
- What does your stationery and business cards say about you? Did you print them yourself or did you spend a bit more and create really high-quality pieces?
You don’t need marble tile in your entryway to exude quality, but you do need more than threadbare carpeting. Have someone classy that you know go through your practice and give you their impression.
Presentation and Format – Presentation and format combines many of the things we’ve talked about within how you present your information. Do your presentations contain the following elements:
- Organization – Is it easy to follow and understand?
- Efficiency and Convenience – Is it demonstrating that working with you will be convenient and easy?
- Guarantees – Is your guarantee prominently displayed?
- Authority – Did your biography precede them seeing the proposal? Are you using 3rd party expertise?
- Quality – What does your proposal look like… like you just ran it off your copier, or does it have gravitas?
Your Presentation will be your representative when they leave your office. What does your presentation say about you?
Balanced Information – Consumer Reports has made an empire off this one factor. People will pay for someone willing to give them the advantages and disadvantages to aid in their decision-making process.
Do you only present one side of things? Or do you:
- Clearly explain the advantages and disadvantages of every product you recommend
- Give clients more than one option, even if one of the options causes you to make less money
- Spend time covering things of importance to your client, even though you make nothing by covering such information
Of all the things we talked about, this is the one quality that people will pay the most for, all things being even. Always ensure that you and your practice are known for your balanced, non-biased advice!