Pitch or Promise – Three Keys to Developing a Truly Distinguished Value Proposition

Most sales training includes the proverbial discussion around the development of the “value proposition.”  It is certainly important for every firm and advisor to develop a compelling positioning statement that differs from the competition.  Yet all too often we hear value propositions that lack distinction and do little to inspire prospects to further engage.  In our work with thousands of advisors, we most commonly see statements that:

  1. Sound like a marketing pitch
  2. Focus on products and deliverables (an indication that the focus is more about you and your firm than it is about the client!)
  3. Lack authenticity, sincerity, and a personal flavor that comes from the heart.

With the development of the platform and products throughout the industry over the last 15 years and the broad capabilities of just about every wealth manager out there, the challenge is being able to describe what YOU do in a minute or two in a way that sounds different from any other advisor in the marketplace.  And be assured, most sound the same.  Just ask your prospects – most of whom have more than one advisor, have heard several pitches before, and are more often left disappointed in the fulfillment of the pitch!


Our point of view at Greene Consulting about the “value prop” is based on over two years of work with the Founder, President and COO of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Group and his EVP of HR.  Our work with them included the deconstruction of their operating model, then translating their strategies and practices into concrete tactics that can be applied in the financial services and wealth management industry.

Download the Developing and Delivering a Powerful and Differentiated Value Promise below for further insight on this topic.  In this download, you will find the three specific steps to developing and delivering an effective and differentiated value proposition that resonates with prospective clients and distinguishes you and your firm, leveraging examples from The Ritz-Carlton using the same three steps.




Developing and delivering a differentiated value proposition is especially important in today’s new economy.  Firms like Starbucks, Disney, Zappos, and Nordstrom have profoundly impacted today’s economy and the perceptions and expectations of the consumer.  So what are the underlying strategies that have led each to such great success?  Starbucks, for example, generates revenue by selling coffee.  While they offer multiple coffee options (“triple venti,” “no foam,” “three pump caramel skinny latte”), in reality they have a limited product line that traditionally is consumed during the first 2-3 hours of the day.  Not all that different from everyone else in the business.  But their underlying business strategy is not about selling coffee; rather, it is about attracting people to their store.  Their strategy is to “become the third meeting place” for their customers (the other two being the home and the office).  Coffee, the primary deliverable, is not even mentioned!  The value proposition is all about an experience.  When you go to any Starbucks, you know what the store is going to look like, how it is arranged, and what to expect.  You know it is a convenient and appealing place to meet … and by the way, you can buy some coffee!


While you are not going to succeed in our industry by attracting people to your firm for something other than wealth management, the key is to craft a message and experience around it that will be truly distinguished.  Given the expectation of our prospects hearing the same pitch – and recognizing that companies like Starbucks have now altered the psyche of the consumers in our new economy – we must learn and adapt in the same way with our approach to the “value proposition.”

Instead of telling a prospect “what” you do, focus on your value “promise.”  A promise (not to be confused with a guarantee!) is a commitment you and your team make to each and every client that leads to the desired outcomes … in terms they can personally and even viscerally understand and that align with their interests and priorities.  The use of a promise in positioning your approach is more about answering a key question on the mind of your prospect – “Tell me HOW you will actually manage my relationship and why it best serves me.”  In other words, “What is the experience I will have if I work with you and your team?”


The ability to define the specific aspects of the commitments and details around how you operationalize that client experience is how you set yourself apart.  Offer a heartfelt, passionate commitment to fulfilling an experience that a client can count on.  And they can count on it because you have effectively communicated how you have operationalized that experience in your practice and have delivered that experience for others like your prospect.  Developing this type of message, and the related mechanics required for delivery to every client, requires creative thought, planning, and discipline.  Doing so will help you unlock a new flow of prospects with a genuine interest in learning more about what you do and how it might apply to them.

For more information on the Client Loyalty program that Greene Consulting has developed in conjunction with the founding executives of the Ritz-Carlton, translating their business operations into the realities of the wealth management and asset management business, click here or contact David Greene at 404-324-4600 or davidgreene@greeneconsults.com.