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A few months ago I wrote an article called How to run a great client value proposition session in 10 easy steps.

The genesis of my article came from talking to many businesses who were confused trying to work out what a CVP was, how to create it and what do with it once they’d “finished” creating it.

Helping businesses create killer CVPs is a passion of mine. It’s something I genuinely love doing. However for such a simple concept, many have sure done their best to make it complicated!

Why so difficult?!

Perhaps consultants are to blame, desperately trying to add layers of value onto something simple. I’ve heard second-hand about endless workshop sessions where trying to create a CVP becomes almost dental; businesses a year down-the-track and still not knowing how to implement.

It should never be that hard! If it is, abandon all you’ve been told about the concept and start again with a clear head. CVP is simply about being able to communicate to potential clients – in all those ways that don’t involve a more personal, face-to-face conversation – why they should engage your services.

The front foot

There has never been a better opportunity to get on the front foot with this! Most people don’t understand what financial advice can do for them. Sure, once you’ve experienced a great adviser, that changes pretty quickly. However, the reality is most haven’t and aren’t likely to seek one out unless triggered to do so by external factors.

Well, all that is happening in the industry now equals a lot of external factors. What’s missing for many potential clients is knowing how to act.

Recently a friend explained to me he’d seek advice after he’d made a decision about whether or not to sell his investment property. That’s completely the wrong way around, obviously, but not unusual.

The challenge for advisers who are confident they can make a tangible difference to clients via a lifetime of smart decisions is – how to make seeking advice the first port-of-call, rather than a last resort?

My favourite CVP

A great CVP will help. They help to break down the natural human fear of a new experience and make it easier to act. The best are about simple ideas articulated with absolute clarity.

As anyone I’ve spoken to about CVP will know, my favourite CVP example is so simple, it’s beautiful.

It’s about a barber who has a successful barbershop, until a discount hair salon moves in next door and offers haircuts for $5.

After building a business for over 20 years, the barber feels he’s going to lose what he has developed over that time. As several of his customers begin to sample the services of the discount barber next door, he sits down and thinks. Eventually, he comes up with an idea and places a new sign in the front window –


There is such simplicity in that message. A promise, backed by the values underpinning the business, wrapped in a big dose of expectation management.

In other words, a great CVP.


This post was authored by Stewart Bell who was a coach with Elixir Consulting between 2010 and 2014.