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Winning The Beauty Parade

Winning The Beauty Parade

10 November 2023

FINANCIAL PLANNERS – how often has a client subjected you to a ‘beauty parade’?

This is where your clients attend initial consultations with several firms and compare them against each other.

Of course, ‘compare’ normally means ‘compare charges’.

And you can’t blame clients for doing this.

It seems an eminently sensible thing and is encouraged by regulators and financial media personalities alike.

But the frustration for you is that you’ve just delivered a knockout presentation (at your expense), and the client has bought into you but still feels they need to go and see other firms for comparison.

And again, what they mean is a ‘charge comparison’.

Which can feel frustrating because you want them to make a decision based on the quality of service rather than the cheapest price.

You can avoid this and get clients engaged right away if you can understand why their brain is telling them to do this.

Think about it this way:

There are certain things in life that you will normally be happy purchasing based on only one quote because you already have prior experience with the service or an awareness of the general spectrum of charges.

Say you need a plumber to fix a leaking pipe, and you’re quoted £85 by the first one you call. You’ll likely say ‘yes’ immediately because experience tells you it’s within the bounds of reasonableness for that service.

No plumbing beauty parade is needed.

But if you were quoted £20 or £1,000, you wouldn’t engage immediately because you know they’re outside of the normal scale. £20 is too cheap, and they’re obviously going to try and hit you with hidden charges later, and £1,000 is just too much for the size of the task.

Your experience gives you the additional data points needed to assess the context within which this quote sits.

However, let’s say you’re building a house and need an architect, but you’ve never hired an architect before. Or built a house, for that matter.

How much does it cost?

  • £1,000?
  • £5,000?
  • £10,000?

Anything could sound realistic if you’ve never done it before.

So faced with that, you’d probably do a beauty parade of architects, even if the first one you see is a perfect fit in terms of personality and service, because you want (need) the other data points to feel comfortable that you’re not being taken for a ride on the costs.

(Have you ever secretly *wanted* the second quote to be rubbish because you fell in love with the offering of the first one and didn’t want anything to spoil it?)

And Financial Planning isn’t an everyday thing. In fact, for many of your clients, it’s probably the first time they’ve sat in front of a (proper) Financial Planner and consequently, they have no idea what it should cost.

That’s why, even if they love you and your service, they will still feel a need to shop around because they’re looking for additional data points on the fees—to allow them to put yours in context and make it OK to say ‘yes’.

So, give them it.

The context, that is.

Give them the data points there, and then colour in the landscape for them.

You should know who your competitors are and, more importantly, what they charge. Offer that information to your clients in a respectful and fair manner.

Explain what they will get from other firms for their money and how that compares to your service and charges—good and bad.

It’s really important you do this as an impartial information service and not be seen to be talking down your competitors; that’s never a good look and will lose your respect quickly.

But you may find that if you give them the context and if you’ve sufficiently knocked their socks off with your service offering, they’ll be comforted enough to say ‘yes’ there and then and do away with the beauty parade, which, if they were honest, they never really wanted to do anyway.

And you certainly didn’t.

Try it, and I bet you get at least one in three that you’d otherwise have lost. – Software, Training & Business Services for Financial Planners


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