Defining “what you do” to engage the client's head and heart

Jul 1, 2014 @ 11:19 am

By Paul Blease, Director of CEO Advisor Institute at OppenheimerFunds, Inc.

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In the most recent episode when Ken was asked to define his value proposition, he like most of his peers stumbled on the “um…what do I do…” followed by a long and awkward pause. If Ken wants to truly differentiate himself from the crowd, he must craft a value proposition and begin to articulate it in a clear and compelling way. The truth is that given the nature of our profession, we have many recurring conversations where we say the same thing over and over again to different clients and/or prospects. These recurring conversations become your “scripts,” which, more often than not, simply evolved over time.

Your key to success with these scripts:

Don't Wing it…Memorize it

The only time you notice an actor acting is when it's bad. Scripting is no different. Once you have actually memorized the words, you can focus on your delivery as well as your prospects' or client's response, both of which are necessary if you hope to bring the script to life.

When crafting these messages, we must eradicate the language of sales.

The words we use both personally and professionally unmask us. We must leave our sales legacy behind and take up the mantle of a professional. If you aren't quite sure whether a word or phrase is appropriate, just ask yourself if you could ever hear it coming from your family physician and you'll have your answer. Eradicate words such as “pitch, promotion, campaign, customer” and especially the words “sales” and/or “selling”. If you want to be perceived as a professional, you must act like one. A customer comes to a vendor/salesperson and says, "Hey, go get me that". A client comes to an advisor (whether a doctor, attorney or CPA) and says, "Help me, I'm out of my depth".

Don't just engage the client's head but also tap into their heart

While knowing what the client is trying to accomplish tactically and what their portfolio looks like structurally are of great importance, understanding the client philosophically, psychologically, emotionally and even spiritually as a critical level of insight necessary to take that client on their unique financial journey.

Illuminate, Don't Manipulate

If your current business model doesn't execute on the implied promise of the script, fix that component of your business and then go deliver the script.

Our script, "So what do you do"?

The following script will help you begin to consciously architect the conversations around your value proposition. Feel free to modify as you see fit to match your style and delivery, but be sure to maintain the underlying theme and structure.

Mrs. Jones, my entire business has been set up to answer the two fundamental questions that you have of our industry: "Will I make it” and “Do I have any financial blind spots"? Because when you strip away all of the white noise, these are the two most important and profound questions you have in your financial life.

In addressing question #1, "Will I make it?” I've found the vast majority of people I meet haven't even defined "it"! So the first thing our team does is take you through deep discovery process and help you define everything you were trying to accomplish in your financial life, with a high degree of specificity. We then take a look at everything you're doing and map those two concepts together to determine whether in fact what you hope happens has a chance to occur. If the answer is yes, and you're on track, we will pat you on the back and say, "you are well on your way". If there's any kind of deficiency or shortfall, we will surface the issues and give you rational solutions to get back on track.

Once we have addressed question #1 we turn to question number #2: "Do I have any financial blind spots?". Here our team does a 360 degree look at you from a financial perspective, looking for any risk exposure that could do yourself, your family or your business harm. And once again if we uncover something, we're going to surface the issue and give you rational solutions to close that risk exposure.

So at the end of this exhaustive process, you have answered the two most important questions regarding your financial life: will I make it and do I have any financial blind spots.

Note that this script appeals to both the head and the heart. It establishes a systematic and comprehensive process (the head) and it taps into both aspiration and anxiety (the heart). The key is to not just articulate this vital process, but to actually implement it.

This is one of sixteen recurring conversations that all Advisors have. For additional conversations and content, please visit our Compelling Conversations series at

These views represent the opinions of OppenheimerFunds, Inc. and are not intended as investment advice or to predict or depict the performance of any investment. These views are as of the date of this presentation and are subject to change based on subsequent developments.

Shares of Oppenheimer funds are not deposits or obligations of any bank, are not guaranteed by any bank, are not insured by the FDIC or any other agency, and involve investment risks, including the possible loss of the principal amount invested.

Oppenheimer funds are distributed by OppenheimerFunds Distributor, Inc. 225 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10281-1008 © 2014 OppenheimerFunds Distributor, Inc. All rights reserved.


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