To the typical consumer all professionals are approximately equal. Financial adviser coach Tony Vidler explains how clients on the hunt for an adviser will ultimately make their decision, and how personal branding can help:
Any two financial planners are, to the typical consumer who knows neither of them, about the same. Both have letters after their names, both use the same title, both promise broadly the same thing…so there is no real difference between them. So guess what consumers use as their decision-making guidelines if two professionals appear to be basically the same?
Which one charges less? This becomes an easy selection tool when all else appears equal. If the two planners charge about the same, which often happens dues to competitive forces, what does the consumer use as their next comparison point?
Who is the closest, or has more parking? Or who works more convenient hours, or will come and visit me? This is how consumers decide which of the two is most suitable when they appear to do basically the same thing, and cost basically the same amount. If the two planners are about equal in all respects, including convenience, then a bit more work is required by the consumer. So they tend to go to what they can trust most.
Who do they know who uses you...or who has provided testimonials and endorsements? Or who you are connected to professionally...they look for common connections where it makes it easier for them to transfer trust.
However, personal branding can relegate these decision-making points to being secondary issues. If a professional has a clear market segment or specialty area, with authority and great positioning it separates them from the other professionals. If there is a clear client benefit that is easily understandable and different, it makes the choice even easier. If the brand – whether that is a personal or a corporate brand – is identifiable or memorable, it becomes even easier for the consumer to choose.
When it comes to making it easy for consumers to choose you, personal branding matters. Without great branding that involves a clear position, a clear value proposition, and a memorable identity, you are just about the same as every other professional.
Great personal branding makes a difference to getting new customers as a professional, and building a more valuable professional practice.