Unique USP (if you are doing recruitment)

Was having a discussion with a friend last week on the subject of USP (Unique Selling Point or Unique Selling Proposition).

The whole premise of USP is really about “Why would people choose me over anyone else??”… and indeed why me (us) and not him/her (they)?

It used to be that any slight competitive advantage or innovativation could be used as an USP. Eg: “Our widgets are 10% more efficient than the rest.”, “Our members get to earn points when they purchase our widgets and those points can be redeemed for discount on future purchases.” “You have beautiful women clad in bikinis serving you at our restaurants”etc…

But we have since arrived in an era (not helped by the advent of the internet) where there is so much variety for the consumers and too many copycats who are willing to offer the same things as you do at much lower price. As a result, we, the consumers, have too many choices, all good (take note of this word), but sarcely enough attention span to consider them. And when all things being (almost) equal, we will go for the cheapest or safest (status quo) option.   

So let’s put this into the context of “recruitment in financial planning industry.”

Below are a few generic reasons on why people will consider joining this line:

1. They want a income that might take years to earn in their current job.
2. They want a career that would give them the recognition they crave and hope his peers will see.
3. They want the autonomy that the career offers.
4. They want to move up into a leadership position where it is almost impossible to reach given their academic qualifications 

Most FP agencies, almost without fail, will use the above “hot-buttons” in their presentations to prospective financial planners, and that is where the problems lie..: assuming the candidate is already conviinced of the merits of this trade, it begs the original question, “why should I join YOU?”

Some have tried the following:

– Size: “We are the biggest agency in Singapore.”
– Production. “We are the top agency in Singapore last year.”
– Products. “We offer one-stop solutions for our clients.”
– History. “We are established since 1979.”

They are used based on the assumption that the candidates understand what they meant. But generally speaking, most candidates (as far as I know) have only a vague idea of what the job of financial plannning entails, and all those so-called benefits will mean nothing to them (maybe not nothing, but it will be fuzzy) unless they have prior experiences in the industry.

So what do we do?

We need to become a Purple Cow (credit to Seth Godin). A creature that stands out from the rest like the proverbial sorethumb, a creature so remarkable that everyone who sees it will be making remarks about it.

Imagine an FP agency that promises the planners:-

– never, ever, need to do cold-calls to source for new business?
– have qualified clients who would come to them willingly to take advice from and accept those advice?

Will candidates be thrilled to find a sales organization that does not need you to engage in traditional ways of prospecting (aka cold calling, street canvassing, road shows etc)? Will their friends be surprised to hear things that challenge their pre-conceived notions of a “financial planner” (selling insurance)??

Due to time constraints, I will continue again in my next entry…


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