Maslow-inspired client value propositions

Back in 2007, a few great advice firms, like Troy MacMillan’s The Wealth Designers, based in West Perth, Greg Keady and Jeff Wain’s Melbourne Private Wealth, based in South Yarra, and Brian Pert’s Pert and Associates, based in Southport, were being innovative with their client value propositions.

Without knowing or being influenced by each other, and regardless of their origins in insurance, investments, or accounting, each of these firms independently realised that they required value propositions that positioned the value they added on the ‘outcomes’ the clients were trying to achieve, rather than on the products they needed.

Each of these firms experimented with client engagement propositions that focussed on the details in the financial lives of their clients, the details behind the financial numbers on superannuation statements, personal balance sheets or pay slips.  

Back when most in the industry were flat out processing new business as if there was no tomorrow, these firms and others like them were experimenting with their value propositions, knowing that – sooner or later – a tomorrow would come where things would be different.

I refer to their self-directed experimentation as the Maslow evolution.

The Maslow evolution started during the 1990s, when gurus such as Bill Bachrach, George Kinder, Dan Sullivan, and Bruce Wright began recommending the development of value propositions for financial advice based on Abraham Maslow’s theory of how people satisfy their needs.

Abraham Maslow – who is often recognised as the father of modern management psychology – presented a “Hierarchy of Needs”, theorising that people need to have their fundamental survival needs satisfied before they can be in a position to satisfy their progressively “higher” needs for living a comfortable life. Once “lower” needs are satisfied, people can consider fulfilling their “higher” needs.

Identifying these needs is a subjective art akin to rocket science. It’s tough. But with practice, persistence, and a focus on clients seeking advice to overcome obstacles to them achieving important financial outcomes in their lives, it’s also very rewarding. The reward is evidenced by the high demand for services from advisory firms that have worked hard to develop a client value proposition based upon the client’s outcomes rather than the adviser’s products.

The Wealth Designers, Melbourne Private Wealth, and Pert and Associates all work hard every year with every client to ensure their firm’s work is aligned with the reasons why their clients are engaging their firms. Their advice clients see value in leading better more secure financial lives which are heading towards their desired objectives. For them, products are the means to the end, rather than the focus in their own right.

If you would like to see a schematic of the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs and how it helps identify a client’s outcomes, email me ([email protected]) and we’ll send it to you.

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