This blog was adapted from “Proven in the Trenches” by Ron Carson. You can order the book now on Amazon.

The amount of time it takes you to read this sentence is the same amount of time someone spends on your website before moving on to the next thing in their day.

We know that you have only a matter of seconds to make a memorable first impression and demonstrate your value to prospects before they lose interest and bounce.

It’s a testament to the changing face of the modern-day investor. A microcosm of shrinking attention spans and growing distractions. So many options to consider in so little time. It leaves advisors wondering, “What am I able to do to stand out and make my value known?”

The answer isn’t found in shouting louder – someone will always have a bigger megaphone. Instead, embrace the idea that you’re not only competing for market share but for mindshare. With all that is changing, one thing hasn’t: Consumers will always want value beyond a doubt.

Take off the advisor hat and think about purchases you’ve made as a consumer. Why do you choose Uber versus Lyft? Apple over PC? Value is the currency, and the experience is the differentiator. Is the benefit and outcome of your purchase worth the amount you paid for it?

Since writing the first edition of “Tested in the Trenches” in 2005, the profession has undergone incredibly significant change. The ever-encroaching presence and necessity of technology, the active environment of consolidation, the ever-looming possibility of a market downturn and invisible influencers like fee compression all have shifted the way advisors run their businesses.

We need to embrace the same shift with attracting new clients, who have evolved alongside the industry. In fact, they’ve been the driving force behind it all. It’s one of the reasons I wrote the third installment in my book series, “Proven in the Trenches.”

Maximize Limited Attention Spans

Investors facing distractions and weighing their options lean toward meaningful connections. Firms who target their messages to specific personas better garner attention from prospects and maintain loyalty with clients.

My point: Find out what sets your firm apart – your unique value proposition – and weave it into everything you do. And, for the sake of shortened attention spans, keep it simple. Prospects will appreciate and remember interactions that give them the answers they’re looking for quickly.

Our messaging also needs to be consistent. Consumers consult around 10 different sources before making a purchase decision. Having a sleek, simple and concise website is great, but it’s not enough if you want to eventually convert a prospect into a client.

To keep your firm top-of-mind as prospects wade through all their options, you need to be omnipresent. Your social media profiles, blogs, in-person events, videos, office environment and word-of-mouth all convey your message. Ensure they’re all saying the same thing.

Personalize the Client Experience with Tech

In the book’s introduction, I discuss the role technology plays in financial services. It can become a massive hindrance if advisors don’t stay current, as the tech itself is always moving.

Outdated technology is one of the fastest growing reasons clients would consider switching advisors, according to an Investor Report conducted by Salesforce. When prospects come across an outdated website or clients are forced to use outdated platforms, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the business behind it is outdated, too.

This includes using technology for client communication. Emails, videos, social posts and other communication methods all create a more personalized client experience if done thoughtfully and purposefully. And if you think this is something that can wait, think again. In the same Salesforce report, “lack of communication” was one of the top two reasons clients would change advisors.

On-Demand Webinar: Why Clients and Advisors Love the New Carson Client Experience. Watch now to learn more.

Create an Ecosystem of Value-Added Activity

Leveraging technology to create a more personalized client experience also encourages us to engage with prospects and clients more often. When we connect with them professionally and personally, we learn about the other areas of their lives where we can provide value.

Top advisors know how to make the traditionally intangible services we provide more tangible. Of course, this is easier said than done. Architecting and delivering a holistic, seamless menu of services in a way that screams “I’m worth it!” is one of the most challenging endeavors for advisors today. But it is possible.

Building a one-stop shop for any possible need your client has in his or her financial life is the holy grail in financial services. Creating holistic experiences is the key to not only demonstrating value but also to delivering compelling experiences that entice clients to come back.

To accomplish this next-era service offering, firms may need to explore the expansion of their current menu of services. It benefits both sides, really. The more you’re able to fulfill the various needs of your clients, the more data you can gather about their desires and challenges. And, having more data about every individual naturally leads to a better understanding of who they are, likely helping you anticipate needs in the future.

The more information you’re able to gather about your clients, the more empowered you will be  to deliver an exceptional experience with unmistakable value.

Now you see how the evolving behaviors and preferences of the modern-day investor shapes the future of financial advice. Consumers are more informed and empowered than any time in our history. They hold the power to shift entire industries with the click of a button.

As advisors, it’s our responsibility to listen carefully, anticipate those shifts, materialize our value and embrace the fact that the experience is everything.

Want more step-by-step advice on how to build a sustainable business in financial services? Purchase or download the “Proven in the Trenches” Workbook today at and order the book, available on Amazon.  

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