For most people, financial planning is difficult and complex - which is why they seek out professionals for assistance. Yet while the outcomes of working with a financial planner are positive, the actual experience of going through the financial planning process is not always pleasant. As one focus group researcher put it, "The financial planning experience is a blend of a dental exam, math class, and marriage therapy." And the challenge for growing a financial planning practice continues to become more difficult, given an increasing number of financial planning practitioners competing for business, with less and less differentiation from one firm and advisor to the next.
By contrast, the Build-A-Bear workshop provides an entirely different experience. Notwithstanding the fact that it sells teddy bears - a product long since commoditized - Build-A-Bear differentiates itself not by the product itself, but by the experience that customers engage in to get the teddy bear, as children visiting Build-A-Bear literally build the bear from scratch. The end result - the entire process turns from a few minutes at a cash register or website into a multi-hour interactive experience, the children have a much deeper buy-in to what they get (as their tagline notes, Build-A-Bear is not where teddy bears are bought, but "Where Best Friends Are Made"), and customers spend twice as much or more to get the same commoditized product at the end!
Which raises the question - what if the client financial planning experience was more like a Build-A-Bear experience, where your clients happily pay twice as much for your services and want to spend hours going through the process and the experience of it!?