ELITE ADVISOR BEST PRACTICES

Are You a Go-To Advisor? Five Steps That Will Get You There

The art of becoming “top of mind” among clients and prospects

By Jonathan Powell

Key Takeaways:

  • Positioning enables you to differentiate yourself from the more than 400,000 other financial advisors out there.
  • To position yourself effectively, you must create a value proposition, elevator speech and call to action.
  • In addition, your personal story will inspire others to work with you.


With more than 400,000 financial advisors in the United States, investors have plenty of options when it comes to getting guidance about their wealth.

How can you stand out in that huge crowd and attract not just many clients, but also the ones who are the right fit for your business?

The answer is to position yourself for success. Positioning strategies are designed to help you establish, control and maintain how clients, prospects and other professionals perceive you. If you position yourself effectively, you can’t help but become a go-to advisor—the first person who ideal clients and prospects think of when they need help making smart decisions about their money. I’m sure you can guess what happens then: You generate a stream of new ideal business, month after month after month.

Five steps to becoming the go-to advisor

There are five steps to positioning yourself successfully as the go-to expert in your chosen client niche.

Step 1. Claim your unique, compelling value proposition. Your first step in effective positioning is to realize your unique value proposition—your expertise in addressing clients’ full range of financial concerns through a comprehensive process. Financial advisors often like to highlight a specific skill or two that they possess—such as financial planning or stock picking. These skills are valuable, of course, but they don’t go far enough from a positioning standpoint. That’s because the affluent aren’t looking for a single skill. Indeed, the top criterion that the affluent use to choose their financial advisors is overall expertise. They want financial advisors who can help them maximize the probability of achieving their most important financial and life goals.

Step 2. Write your positioning statement. Your positioning statement should be a clear, brief description of what you do to meet the key needs and desires of your ideal clients. For example, consider possibilities for your positioning statement by inserting the name of your target niche into each of the following:

  • “I help [my niche] make work optional.”
  • “I help [my niche] make smart decisions about their money so they can devote more time to doing what they love.”
  • “I help [my niche] become wealthy and enjoy the good life.”
  • “I give [my niche] clients peace of mind.”

Your positioning statement needs to “speak” truly to the members of your chosen niche. It must offer key benefits that the members of that niche want to enjoy. Your statement also must be short, simple and believable.

Step 3. Create your elevator speech. Once you have decided on your positioning statement, you need to be able to communicate it quickly, on demand and in a compelling manner to members of your niche community. An elevator speech is a classic marketing technique that will be your primary means of quickly communicating your value to prospects in your niche. There are two keys to crafting a winning elevator speech:

  1. Keep it short, simple and concise. Imagine you are in an elevator and someone asks you, “What do you do?” You have only the length of an elevator ride to answer in a memorable manner.
  2. Make it compelling. Describe how your offering solves an important challenge or fills a key need for the prospect.

Step 4. Construct a call to action. If the listener expresses further interest once you’ve made your elevator speech, then deliver your call to action—a specific step that the prospect should take in order to take advantage of the value you just described in your elevator speech. In nearly every case, your call to action will be to have the prospect schedule an initial meeting with you to review his or her portfolio and to explore the possibility of working together.

Step 5. Tell your personal story. Once the prospect has agreed to schedule an initial meeting with you, take a few moments to move this early dialogue to a more personal level. This sets the stage for a great long-term financial advisor-client relationship. We’ve discovered that the best way to set the stage is to share a brief personal story about yourself that conveys why you care passionately about helping clients make smart financial decisions. When others hear your story, it gives them insight into who you are, what you stand for and what you had to overcome to get to where you are today. Very often, your personal story creates in prospective clients a willingness, even an eagerness, to work with you.

For more on communicating your personal story, check out this video.

Top of mind

The idea that “perception is reality” is true. By positioning yourself so that you’re seen by ideal prospects and clients as a true expert who can help them achieve the things they most want, you will achieve top-of-mind status among those investors—and you’ll find yourself attracting more business than ever before.


About the Author

Jonathan Powell is a managing principal at CEG Worldwide, LLC in San Martin, California. Working with many of the nation’s top financial firms, he enjoys helping financial advisors transform their professional and personal lives by implementing CEG Worldwide’s research-backed principles.