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How to show value so clients choose you as their primary FI

How do you move beyond the rate and price conversation with clients and members? How do you position yourself, so clients understand what makes you different from other FIs? How do you show clients the value of what you bring so they choose you? A Gallup 2021 Retail Banking Study showed that when a client or member had a high-quality conversation with a banker, instead of  a low-quality one, the sales conversion of that conversation was 4.2 times greater. The study also revealed that 42% of all conversations are net negative, meaning they don’t have a conversation that leaves you and your clients better off — eek!  Further to that, they determined that 47% of all conversations bankers are having with clients are average.

Conversations matter. The ones you’re having with clients determine if they will choose you, recommend you, or continue to bring more business to you. In our research at Finka Inc., one of the biggest gaps bankers and advisors have is articulating the value they bring to their clients and members. Often, they find themselves leaning on price and rate as their UVP, deep down knowing they are shortchanging themselves and their clients.

So how do you overcome this value conversation gap? Here’s how to show value in three ways that will uplevel your client relationships. 

1. Stop Selling the Journey and Focus on the Destination

Recall a time when you were planning a vacation. Did the travel agent spend time telling you about the type of plane you’d be traveling on, the security and custom clearing lines you’d be waiting in, or sharing all the details about the connection flights and bus ride to your destination?  Of course not. Imagine how you’d feel after that conversation! You may even opt for a staycation to avoid all this trouble.

Instead, the travel agent asks lots of questions to understand your needs and desires. Their aim is to precisely interpret what you’re looking for, so they can get you the perfect vacation. Then, depending on your request, they go on and on about how relaxing and rejuvenating the destination would be by talking up the spa, beach, and luxury sheets and cozy beds. If you were up for an adventure, they wouldn’t be glorifying the three-hour cab ride to the rainforest. Quite the contrary, they’d be highlighting the tree camping, river rafting, and volcano hiking you’d be doing.

So why is it that bankers and advisors feel the need to tell their clients and members all the intricate details that are involved in getting a mortgage approved, funds invested, and account opened? Of course, these details are important—it’s not to say you don’t tell clients about policy and procedure, you do—however, not before they’ve agreed to go on this trip with you.

Clients don’t care about your policy, procedure, paperwork, or process. What they care about is knowing you’ve heard, seen, and understood them. What matters is that they can trust you to help them get more of what they want. Process is on your agenda, not theirs. Make your clients’ goals and dreams your priority and you will not only win their hearts, but their business too.

2. Show Clients How Your Values Align With Their Values

I was facilitating a coaching call with a group of branch managers recently. One of the branch managers shared a story of a client who was looking for a new bank or credit union to work with. He sat down with the BM and flat-out asked, “What makes you different from all the other banks and why should I deal with you?” The BM was taken aback with such a candid question, and reciprocated transparency in his response. He admitted that their products and services are similar to other banks: “Yes you’ll have some slight differences in price and features and we do promise to get you the best solution to meet your needs. But what makes us different is that we care. We care about you and our community.” It just so happened that this FI ran a community skate that past weekend and as the client learned about that he said, “You do all that?” with a delightful surprise. The BM replied, “Yes because we really care.”

The client left and said he was still doing more bank shopping. Two days later he showed up with his family, opening bank accounts, TFSAs, and credit cards. Shortly thereafter, the new client was surveyed on his experience. He gave them a 10/10 and would highly recommend them to family and friends. In the loyalty survey, the client said that the other FIs came across “gimmicky” where this FI felt more human and like they really cared.

No freebie iPads or cash bonuses. It boiled down to being a real human that cares about real people. Clients are literally voting with their dollars for which FI best demonstrates the values they want to align with. It’s not about the products and services you provide, because they can get that across the street from your competitor. It’s about demonstrating how your purpose and the values you stand for align with who your clients wants to be.

3. Stop Making the Transaction the Feature of Your Show

3) Stop making the transaction the feature of your show 

If you’re on LinkedIn, you may have noticed posts by bankers and advisors highlighting the “deals” they’ve closed. One that popped up in my feed recently was a commercial banker featuring a financing package they recently closed for a client. It went on to read like this:

  • Deal size: $900,000.
  • Change of ownership.
  • Loan to Value: 75%.
  • 6 months interest only period.
  • Non-demand lending.
  • Competitive interest rate.

Notice something? The focus is on the deal, not on the client. Clients don’t see themselves in a “transaction.” This feature is not relatable and highlights what you did, not what the client received. On top of that, when you sell on transaction, you force clients to buy on transaction. This is how you perpetuate the transactional, order-taking, rate/price-focused nature of our business. Competition is fierce and digitization will take over these kinds of deals.  If you want to stand out, not diminish your worth, or not be replaced by a digital solution, you must stop selling the transaction, and instead start demonstrating the transformation. 

You have four ways to facilitate a transformation for your clients and members. You can:

  1.  Solve a problem.
  2. Achieve a goal.
  3.  Align to values.
  4. Fulfill a dream.

At any given time, your clients are seeking all these four transformations. Your job is to uncover them, help prioritize, and show how your products, services, solutions, and advice, helps them achieve the transformation they are seeking.

How could that LinkedIn post look if the commercial banker featured the transformation instead of the transaction? Here’s a take two on the same post with the transformation taking centre stage:

Ready to retire but struggling with what to do with your dental practice?

We recently worked with a dentist who owned his practice for 35 years. To him and his team, the practice felt more like a family than a business. He had hoped that his practice would stay in the family and that his son would take it on. However, his son had other plans. He became a naturopathic doctor instead. The good news was that his son leased office space on the second floor of his dental practice, so he’s still nearby. 

However, the dentist still had a problem—he wanted to retire in five years, to spend time with his wife traveling throughout Europe and help his son grow medicinal herbs on their 10-acre property for his patients.

We helped our client create a succession plan with a dentist who matched his values: family, loyalty, and integrity. They will now work together over the coming five years to transition the business fully to the incumbent dentist. In addition to the financing required for the sale of the business, we set them up with a business coach to support the transitional hiccups the leadership and team will expect to experience.

Not only did this dentist get a sound plan and his investment back on the value of his business, but he can also sleep well at night knowing his work and family are taken care of and his legacy of giving ‘healthy smiles for a lifetime’ lives on.

If you’re uncertain on where to start on your succession plan, we’d love to help. Let’s connect.’

Can you see the difference? The feature wasn’t the transaction, it was the transformational impact that will take home a standing ovation.

How Will You Show Value?

There you have it: how to show your value in three ways that clients will resonate with. Now, you can highlight the value you bring in a way that matters most to clients and members, so that you have the best shot of them choosing you as their primary financial provider. Now it’s over to you. Which one of these value strategies resonated with you most? Which one will you implement?

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