WRITTEN BY: Gideon Drucker, CFP® AIF® ECA
Today I am going to answer a frequently asked question...
“What differentiates you from other firms?”
This is always one of my favorite questions to get asked by a prospective client on a Right Fit Call; in part because of WHEN it is being asked. If I get asked this question, it typically comes at the end of our 20-minute conversation.
By this point, the prospect understands that we work exclusively with high earning young professionals in their 30’s-40’s, that we are a team of Certified Financial Planners™ & Fiduciaries, and that we are part of a 3rd generation firm that has been around since 1959.
The prospect knows that we are a planning first firm.
And that we believe so completely in building a financial plan BEFORE talking investments that we actually turn away clients with millions of dollars to invest if they are not interested in going through the Financial Life Plan® process first.
They know that I wrote a book, How To Avoid HENRY Syndrome®, geared towards HENRY's that’s in the top 1%* of Amazon’s financial books and that has been featured by Business Insider, Forbes, Fox News, and Medium Magazine.
They know we are on Forbes list of top Next Gen Advisors, Best-In-State Advisors, 5-Star Wealth Manager***, I was named on Business Insider's list of top advisors for Millennials and Money Under 30's Top 7 Advisors for Millennials in NYC…so on and so forth (I promise I’m saying all of this to make a point later.)
By this point, I have come to understand 4 key points, why the prospective client reached out in the first place, what their financial priorities are, what their short term and long-term goals are, and what areas they feel they need the most help with.
They may be struggling to understand their cash flow & saving habits, have no idea if they’re saving for their kids’ college adequately, or feel behind the eight ball when it comes to their retirement planning.
They may have just gotten married and are starting to think about buying a home, are planning for a family & have insurance & estate planning questions, or they may be curious about their company’s benefits and whether they’re maximizing their options. You get the idea.
By this point, I have explained exactly how we go about solving & addressing these various financial concerns.
As I tell them: Our first step is to complete a comprehensive Financial Life Plan®…which serves as a full financial checkup.
So what does the comprehensive Financial Life Plan® entail?
We will build out a plan that incorporates your income, expenses, taxes, short term & long-term financial goals and then show you exactly what needs to be done to become more efficient in the short term and increase their plan success rate in the long run.
As part of this process, we will do a full analysis of your existing investment strategies and the recommended changes to ensure your money works harder for you (or let you know if your investments are already perfectly aligned with your goals.) We will do a complete life insurance & disability insurance review to analyze your current coverages and explore if there are ways of improving your current protection outlook.
Fortunately for everyone involved, the most common response I hear to all of this is, “Wow, yes that’s exactly what I need! I need help in putting it all together and someone to let me know where I stand and then that holds me accountable to get it done.”
Re-read the last few paragraphs and you’ll see why the question “What differentiates you from other firms?” is so funny to me.
By this point the client understands our firm’s history, credentials, and comprehensive planning process. The client understands our process & our fee structure**. The client understands they are our exact demographic by age, income, and motivation. The client understands exactly how our process will answer their financial questions while providing a proactive approach to take financial planning/money management off their plate.
So, “Why us?” Because we will get this done for you.
Imagine going to see a doctor so she can take a look at your right knee which has been bothering you for years. The doctor comes highly referred, has exceptional reviews online, and explained to you exactly what surgery/medicine/course of action you need to solve your issue...as she’s seen that exact problem thousands of times before…
Would it ever dawn on you to ask the doctor if they can do the surgery BETTER than a doctor in the next town or what differentiates them from their competitors? Of course not! They can provide exactly what you’re looking for & so you won’t spend a single second thinking about other doctors anymore!
I think people ask the question “How are you different” or “Why should we go with you” as a form of kicking the can down the road (ie: let me do more research, reach out to more advisors) because it can be scary to take the plunge and start lifting behind the curtain of your financial affairs in such a hands-on way.
It’s easier to “keep looking” indefinitely. Most of the time, this means putting the work off entirely.
I also think some people are looking for a magic answer that will solve all of their financial questions without them having to make any substantive changes to their financial behavior or goals…something like “I will cut your tax bill in half or we average a 20% rate of return year over year.”
So, when someone asks, “Why you? What differentiates you?”
Here’s my actual answer:
"Great question…Yes, we are a 3rd generation firm with a 70-year track record that specializes in building financial plans for clients exactly in your situation yada yada yada but honestly I think we’re asking the wrong question here because I’m sure there are a lot of great firms out there. But let me ask you this, 'If after our next more in-depth meeting, you trust that we have your best interest at heart, like us personally and think we’d work well together over time, need & want the sort of comprehensive financial planning that we specialize in, and find our fees fair and reasonable, would you agree it will make sense to get started?' I can’t tell you how we’re “different”, I just know why we’re the RIGHT FIT for you."
If, even after acknowledging all of that, you still want to look around, we may not be the right firm because more than anything, as with any relationship…we have to click!
Ready to talk about what is going on in your financial world and find out if we might be a good fit? Book your Right Fit Call and I look forward to speaking with you soon!