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How Advisors Can Differentiate Themselves in the Eyes of Owners

Submitted by John Brown on Fri, 01/10/2020 - 9:00am
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Business owners are a rare breed. In founding their businesses, they buck the trend of working for someone. They think differently, act differently, and succeed differently from most people. This means that when it comes to planning for a successful future, they also plan differently. They typically don’t want off-the-shelf advice that every other advisor offers them. They want advisors who are different like them, and who can present creative and tailored ideas that speak directly to their needs. Being different can be a competitive advantage for advisors, but what are some of the ways they can successfully differentiate themselves? That’s the topic we’ll be looking at today.

Identify the pain on the owner’s terms

Business owners can be proud people. After all, many of them either built their businesses from the ground up or are continuing a legacy that’s close to their hearts. Because they’ve often shouldered the burden of being everything to everyone, many owners either cannot or will not admit when they have problems that might be bigger than them. Sometimes, owners deny the problems they have.

Advisors must be able to identify an owner’s unique pain on the owner’s terms. Sometimes, advisors can identify an owner’s pain based on their expertise and objectiveness. But a trap that advisors sometimes fall into is telling the owner what their problem is. Rarely do owners want to be told what to do about something, especially something as important to them as their businesses. It’s often not in their nature to take orders, even from other experts. This is an opportunity for advisors to show how they differentiate themselves.

Rather than telling owners what their problem is, advisors should invite owners to tell them what their problem is. The best way to do this is to know which questions to ask, know how to vividly show owners their pain points, and then offer a solution to the problem.


For example, an advisor may know that an owner wants to retire in five years and sell the business to liquidate the nest egg, but that the business isn’t worth enough to support the owner’s lifestyle. Instead of telling the owner, “You can’t really do what you want,” the advisor might ask, “How much do you expect to get from your business, and how did you come to that number?” These kinds of questions prompt owners to think deeply about their assumptions. It also leads them to the answers advisors already know. The key is that the business owner comes to the conclusion and chooses to act, rather than being pressured to act by an outside force. This can differentiate the advisor and makes the advisor more amenable to the business owner.

BEI is the foremost expert at showing advisors how to identify an owner’s pain points on the owner’s terms, which is a great way to differentiate themselves. We provide questions and materials that let advisors drill into what keeps owners awake at night. Our tools and strategies lay out the best ways for advisors to lead business owners to important conclusions about their futures without telling those owners what to do. These skills are great ways for advisors to show owners how they’re different in the best way possible, leading to deeper conversations and relationships.

Vividly show owners their pain points and then offer solutions

The questions that advisors ask allow them to gather the information they need to vividly show owners their pain points. It’s one thing to talk about pain points, only to let them escape into the ether once the advisor and owner conclude the consultation. It’s another to show owners where their pain lies and then offer to solve that pain. Again, the key for advisors is to lead owners to the conclusion, not force the conclusion upon them.

BEI offers advisors assessments that show owners their pain in vivid detail based on what the owner tells the advisor. This flips the script for most owners: They aren’t having a solution offered for a problem they may not think they have. Instead, they get to see what they themselves have said concerns them about their futures. Once owners see their pain in a place other than inside their own brain, the first question they often ask is, “Well, how can I fix that?”

This is where it’s the advisor’s time to shine, especially when they can access BEI tools and strategies. Advisors can offer the tailored solutions owners want at the owner’s request through BEI’s planning software. For problems outside of the advisor’s expertise, BEI gives advisors access to experts from other fields who can solve the problem and build referral networks in the process.

Stay in front of them with useful content

Sometimes, getting advice can feel transactional to business owners. Advisors who can stay in front of owners with useful and relevant content deepen their relationships with those owners and differentiate themselves in the process. But advisors tend to get busy, and hiring a dedicated marketing team can be too costly or simply the wrong fit. How can advisors stay in front of owners under these confines?

BEI has several tools that keep advisors in front of owners as a matter of course. We offer presentation templates that explain common pain points to large groups of owners, getting them thinking about their futures. We provide all sorts of brandable, leave-behind deliverables that establish the advisor as the foremost expert on the problem solving owners want. And we have an automated newsletter system that’s proven to bring clients to advisors. Listen to what one advisor with access to BEI’s automated newsletter system had to say about how it:

I talked with a client business owner yesterday who contacted my partner in charge of the account. He told me one of the reasons he’s decided to start planning is from reading [BEI’s] newsletters!


  • Successful business owners want tailored solutions because their situations are different.
  • Advisors must know how to identify the owner’s pain on their terms to offer different solutions, which can differentiate them in turn.
  • Once they’ve identified the pain, advisors must know how to show owners their pain, offer/find solutions, and stay in front of those owners to ease the pain.
  • BEI has tools and strategies that make advisors stand out to business owners.

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