“No one wants to travel on the world’s 8th safest airline.” I recall a mutual fund wholesaler making that point years ago. There are over 5,000 airlines in the world. (1) Being the 8th safest puts you not only in the top 1% (top 50) but within the top 2/10’s of 1% For most people that isn’t good enough. You want to fly on the No. 1 safest airline! Holding the No. 1 position has a mystical quality.

We recently entertained houseguests for the weekend. The wife in the couple, who was from Asia, presented us with a cake that came from “The #1 best Chinese bakery in Manhattan!” She was quite proud because in the Asian culture, you want to deal with No. 1.

It's not just in Asia. Most people would feel the same way. Avis realized it was #2 behind Hertz and started running it’s “We are No. 2. We try harder” ad campaign in the 1960’s (2) When it comes to getting financial advice, it makes sense to assume people want to do business with the best. They want No. 1.

How can you position your firm as No. 1? Fortunately, achievement and success can be measured in many ways. If you are a financial advisor working at a large firm, here are several ways you can position yourself as #1.

1. Number of financial advisors on the Barrons lists. The weekly publication Barrons started publishing it’s top advisor list in 2004. (3) Today they rank the top 1,200 advisors by state. It is great if you are listed as one of them personally, but there are other benefits too. Does your firm have the most nationwide? Does your firm have the most in your state?

2. Number of years serving your local market. Many people with money own their own business. They are usually enthusiastic boosters of the local economy. When did your firm open it’s first office in the local market? How long has your firm has a continuous presence? Longevity shows commitment to a community despite the ups and downs of the economic cycle.

3. Total of client assets held at the firm. Many people believe size matters. When a business in almost any industry gets a bad reputation, clients run for the door. If your firm has the largest number of retail accounts, largest volume of retail assets, largest number of business accounts or institutional assets, it speaks to a high level of trust. The number can be proceeded by the words: “People trust us.”

4. Total retirement assets (or retirement accounts) at the firm. Your firm might not have the largest amount of retail assets or institutional accounts, but where do they stand concerning retirement assets as a subgrouping? Psychologically, people might feel retirement assets represent the money you want to keep safest, because it is meant to support you when you stop working. It’s another category that speaks to trust.

5. Awards won within the industry. It appears everything you can imagine is ranked by someone. Your firm might have the largest amount of client assets in the world. It might have the largest number of clients. The previous two points spoke to these categories. There are many other awards in areas like best customer service where your firm might have scored the #1 position.

6. Number of advisors. This number ties into the number of accounts at the firm and total assets held at the firm. It comes across as more people looking after clients, giving them attention on an individual basis. Does your firm have the most advisors? Online trading has its merits, but when something goes wrong, you want to call your contact at the firm, someone who knows your name.

7. Number of branches or office locations. This is another way “largest firm” can be measured. Is your firm present in all fifty states? What about overseas? Wealthy clients travel. If something goes wrong when they are away from home, it is comfortable to know there is a local office nearby. They feel they can walk in, identify themselves as client of the firm and either call you or get help.

8. Awards won by your firm’s research department. How many analysts does your firm have? Proprietary research is an advantage. Are those analysts any good? How do you know? Third party rankings Publications like Institutional Investor compile their All America Research Team on an annual basis. (4) How many of your firm’s analysts made the list? More than any other firm?

9. Number of countries. This category can be viewed in two ways: In how many countries does your firm have offices? This represents two benefits. Wealthy clients travel. If something goes wrong, it is comforting to know they can walk into a local office in a foreign financial capital.

10. Depth of international presence. How many research analysts are based in their local markets? it makes sense an analyst in the local market has their ear to the ground and understand situations better than analysts who are far away.

These should all represent categories where your firm can rightly claim “We are No. 1.” It might be in only one of two areas, but it gives your client the sense of security knowing they are dealing with “the best” in a category important to them.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_airlines#:~:text=There%20are%20over%205%2C000%20airlines,operating%20from%20the%20United%20States.

2. https://www.denverpost.com/2013/08/13/we-try-harder-the-story-of-most-brilliant-ad-slogan-of-the-20th-century/

3.  https://www.institutionalinvestor.com/article/2bstnox9764n3iw4rgsn4/research/the-2022-all-america-research-team

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.