Expected Value, Added Value, Meaningful Value: What is the Distinction and Why is it Important?

Lawrence ChambersI was coaching with a financial planner recently and he was lamenting about the lack of referrals he was getting from his clients after working with some of them for over 15 years. This planner had even sent out a client survey and had received 4.5 out of 5 in terms of the service he was delivering. So what was missing? Why was he not receiving more ideal client introductions?

Through our conversations, he had mentioned that he provided a significant amount of technical value and added value for his clients. It was at this point we made the distinction between “expected value” which is what a client expects when they walked through the door of a financial planner (financial proficiencies, trustworthiness, technically abilities) and “added value” which was something the client wasn’t expecting (information seminars, connections with other professionals, client appreciation events).

Next we began looking at the successful client relationships that he already had. These were considered as ideal relationships where clients had willingly introduced others to his business. He determined that what made them ideal was that they were in some way more “meaningful”. He acknowledged that these more meaningful relationships occurred randomly. In other words there was no strategy in place for developing more meaningful “ideal” client relationships. We both agreed that expected and added value services may have limitations in terms of creating more meaningful client relationships.

We determined that to be meaningful the value provided must in some way directly connect with the client’s life. From here we defined what providing “meaningful value” might look like within the financial planner / client relationship. One form it could take is when the planner is able to facilitate meaningful connections between a client’s material wealth and their lives, connecting “what they have” with “who they are”. This results is more meaning and fulfillment. It also gives clients an increased sense of freedom in their lives. Of course this is what financial “life” planning is all about.

The focus of our coaching call then turned towards finding ways to provide greater and greater levels of “meaningful value”, which would result in more meaningful ideal client relationships. This was a huge shift for this financial planner who had reached a plateau in his business and felt that the traditional added value approach was not moving him to where he really wanted to be.

From my personal experience when operating my own Financial Life Planning® business, I discovered that by focusing our attention on providing more “meaningful value”, we were able to actually create ideal client relationships within our existing client base. Relationships that were sitting right there, just waiting to become “ideal”. This resulted in these clients becoming strong advocates and introducing a steady flow of ideal client situations to our business.

This is the why I believe it is important to make this “value” distinction. By doing so, we can focus attention on developing a strategy to create even greater amounts of “meaningful value”, which will improve our client and business outcomes.

Visit Lawrence’s website, www.starliving.ca, to explore coaching options for Financial Life Planners.

Editor’s Note: As a Life and Business Coach, Lawrence supports financial professionals in being more effective in creating their own unique Financial Life Planning Business. Prior to selling his Financial Life Planning business and transitioning to his current career, Lawrence was a long-time Money Quotient Licensee and active member of the M.Q. Community.

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