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Insights | November 18, 2022

Knowing When to Say Less

There is so much you can say about your practice that will help you attract, win and retain clients. Your processes, qualifications, experience, methodologies—all of this value needs to be presented. That part is obvious. The oft-forgotten question is, When? What is the most effective moment to share any given piece of information about you and your practice or firm? 

If you want a general rule of thumb, here it is: Start with broad strokes, and share more and more detail as the relationship progresses.

This has to do with the dynamics of the advisory relationship, but it also has to do with plain old human nature. Think about the order of questions that naturally occur. Early on, they’re likely to be wondering, “Why should I pay attention to you in the first place?” and “What are you doing that’s different from anyone else?” Later, they might be thinking, “What are you doing to keep me on track?” and “What value does your investment process have in this climate?” Anything you present should be designed to answer these questions.

For instance, we often see the impulse to over-share in early touch points, but if you throw everything but the kitchen sink at a brand new prospect, they won’t know what to do with it. Less is actually more at this stage, because you want to provide a succinct value proposition that piques their interest in learning more. This approach often leads to strong visuals, as well, because balanced layouts with ample white space are attractive; textbooks are not. 

At the same time, if you’re sitting down with a valuable client and have very little to show them, they might be underwhelmed. Being transparent and professional enough to show the details of your process can result in greater engagement and confidence.

In a sense, the task of building your brand is just a series of decisions about how to take all the information you have about your practice and parse it out through all the various touch points in the client relationship. If you know when to say less, you’re well on your way.

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