What’s in it for me?

The elephant is out in the open…I asked it.

The REAL, deep-down question most people want answered before they buy something.

Or invest in something.

Or give their time to something.

What’s in it for me?

If I give you my money, my time, my energy…

What will I get in return?

Oftentimes that question seems unfair.

After all, you know how valuable the work you do can be to the people you serve.

How rude!

Just pay me. Just trust me. You’ll see what you get.

And it will be worth a lot more than you ever thought possible.

A lot more than money.

How dare you ask such a silly question.

You ‘think’ to YOURSELF…

Your friend wouldn’t have referred you to me if they didn’t believe I would do a great job.

I wouldn’t have this fancy office. Cool website. Or amazing LinkedIn profile if I wasn’t just plain awesome.

And my software!

I use the most powerful financial planning tools on the market. I can measure risk every which way from Sunday.

And my ETF models are to die for.

Besides…and here’s the clincher…I’m not just an advisor or a planner.

I’m a CFP-toting fiduciary.

Look at the alphabet soup of letters behind my name. What more could you want?

If you really need to know what’s in it for you.

There you have it…you get me.

The great and powerful Oz.

[Slight pause.]

And then the checks and ACAT forms start pouring-in.

Like a Rockstar selling out concerts night after night. City after city.

Sound familiar???

Probably not.

Sound silly???


But quite honestly that’s the picture playing-out between the ears of many entrepreneurs. Many business owners.

And too many financial planners and RIAs.

Sure, it may not be as dramatic.

But it’s every bit as real when you take what you know about yourself for granted. Holding it inside when it’s a story that’s meant to be shared.

You stumble and mumble through the “What do you do?” question.

You can’t truly articulate your value.

And yet you expect your audience to blindly appreciate…

…all the time, money and energy you’ve invested in yourself and in your business,
…the truly amazing results you get for your clients, and
…the impact you have on the people and causes you care about the most.


You just need to make sure you have a system for telling and selling your awesomeness.

A system you get out of your head and onto the eyes and into the ears of your audience.

A system that clearly explains “What’s in it for me?”

A message that turns what you do around so that your beauty is seen in the eyes of your beholders.

Your clients and future clients have a RIGHT TO KNOW what’s in it for them.

After all…

They’re going to trust you with millions of hard-earned dollars. Pay you huge fees for years-and-years to come.

A little transparency is in order.

And not just the mandated legalese.

Let me play out a scenario that happens, almost without fail, when I begin working with an advisor…

I ask, “What are your client deliverables?”

“What’s in in it for them?”

Mumbling, they say things like…

…I have the best financial planning software,
…my model portfolios outperform the benchmarks (until they don’t),
…my clients love me, and
…I’m really good with people.


…I have the SAME software any halfway decent advisor would have,
…when I meet with clients I ramble-on about “the market” even though I tell my clients not to get caught up in “the market,”
…only a couple of my clients who don’t share my last name have actually told you they love me, and
…if I was as good with people as I imagine I am, I’d have more clients.


But the hari-kari rituals of really smart, caring advisors drive me nuts.

Equating your client-deliverables to the same tired language being used by your competitors turns my stomach.

“Client deliverables” are the way your clients assign value.

The way they answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”

The way they can confidently tell others about you…why they REALLY work with you.

And they ultimately build loyalty.

The loyalty that makes those assets you manage sticky. And keeps the fees your clients pay you coming in year-after-year.

Your deliverables are worth $5,000…$10,000…$20,000…or more per year.

Over the average lifetime of a client, that could mean $50,000…$100,000…$200,000…or more per client relationship.

So why wouldn’t you take the time to answer the “What’s in it for me?” question.

The answer is worth a ton of money.

(Of course, there’s more to it than money. But that’s a topic for another day.)

Now, let’s get to the fix.

When I’m working with a new client struggling with the “deliverables” question, I walk them through an exercise I call “story shifting.”

Shifting from a me-too recitation of what you do.

To a simple story that describes how your ideal clients will actually see you in action.


I am NOT talking about a trite “elevator statement” that wouldn’t even take you from the underground parking garage up to the lobby.

It’s a belief statement.

Your beliefs about the way your clients deserve and should want to be treated.

Your story should have 4 key elements, it must…

1.) Elevate your clients’ understanding of how much you value them. They need to know why you CHOOSE to work with them.

They need to feel special.

2.) Articulate an ongoing communication process. The way you’ll show up over-and-over again once they become clients.

Not something you feel obliged to do.

But treating your most valued assets the way you’d want to be treated yourself.

3.) Explain your system for applying your experience, knowledge and skills to your clients’ individual situations.

Not a factory-generated financial plan.

Not a lingo-laced description of a mysterious, holistic, comprehensive plan.

The actual way you help your clients get things done.

The thing you’ll talk about as you guide them through life.

4.) Reinforce your unwavering commitment to raving fan service.

The way you’ll be there for them.

The way you’ll RESPOND to them.

The way you’ll drop everything.

When the unexpected happens.

Even when you think everything is okay.

Locking down this simple 4-point story. And exposing it to the light of day. Will produce unexpected, mind-blowing results.

New opportunities with current clients.

Introductions. Referrals. References. From your most important influencers.

Faster. Smoother. Bigger. Closed sales. Even with hard to convince prospects

Your story becomes your secret weapon even though it’s been exposed to the light of day.


“What’s in it for me?”

Dare to answer this question with…

Confidence. Passion. Speed. And you’ll see for yourself.

The results will shock you.


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