7 Ways to distinguish yourself in a challenging market
Americans are frightened and unhappy with all industries – and every person connected to them. That’s you. But why? Why are they “displeasured” with you?
Chances are, you didn’t do anything wrong. But, equally, you might not have done anything to distance yourself from the scandals, fraud, and allegations in your own industry. Most likely, you neglected to initiate a proactive credibility-building campaign.
The purpose of this article is to give you a way out of the morass, to give you specific steps you can take to show yourself as different and better, to distance yourself from the bad press and perceptions. And, because so few professional have initiated a credibility-building campaign, this is the perfect moment in history for you to entice clients away from other firms that have failed to take these steps.
Never before in history
has credibility been so vital – and so ignored!
This article shares with you some of the most actionable ways to build your credibility – to distinguish yourself from others and leapfrog the competition. These are steps you should have been taking all along – even when the market was better and scam artists were still operating under the radar.
If you haven’t taken these steps already, there is still time, and you can use the muck and mire to your advantage. Look at it this way. Clients and prospects will have something to compare you to. And for you, it becomes just a little bit easier to describe the contrast.
Step 1: Become Proactively Transparent.
We’ve been preaching transparency for nearly a decade, and not just because it’s the right thing to do. Also, because over the years, so few advisors were proactively transparent that it became an easy way to distinguish yourself and build your credibility.
With today’s headlines, proactive transparency becomes even more important. Madoff surrounded himself with an opaque wall, not showing anyone what he was really doing. How can you show that you are the opposite of that? Combat the assumption (association) that all financial firms are hiding something, and do it by becoming proactively transparent. Specifically, become transparent about:
- How you make money. Be upfront and specific about how you get paid.
- All fees and charges they’ll incur. Be upfront and specific about all fees and charges, even the little ones.
- Oversight. Let clients and prospects know about the checks, balances and oversight in place to protect them. Mention specifically your broker/dealer, custodians, accounting firm, etc. along with specific oversight measures in place.
- Client commitment. Outline your commitments in writing. This way you can graphically show your clients what they can expect from you. Call it a “Bill of Rights” or your “Unconditional Promises.” Otherwise, it’s possible that your prospects may imagine a black hole into which their money could go if they gave it to you.
Step 2: Prove Your Credibility.
It is no longer enough to merely BE credible. Now, you must be able to prove and demonstrate your credibility. The most effective way to do that is to prove it before anyone questions it, and you do that in these ways:
- Publishing. Publish books, articles, and white papers. In them, you would tell stories about specific situations in which you made appropriate and successful decisions. You would discuss specific strategies and show your relevance and expertise in areas that are important to your clients. (Warning – If you can’t write at a professional level, get help.)
- Speaking. Book yourself to speak at every luncheon meeting for every organization you can find.
(Warning – These are very different from sales seminars, so if you’re not trained in
how to write and/or deliver a speech, get help.)
- Introductions. We call these “credibility introductions” It means finding someone to introduce you who the client already perceives as credible. This enables you to gain credibility by association