In the mid-1990s, Sir John Templeton told a group of investors the four most feared words in the investment business are, “This time it’s different.” In practice management, we have a similar saying: “My business is different.”

Sure, some advisors use different products, but in the end, clients want good advice. Here are three ways to make sure you deliver it.

Read: How to get noticed

Be clear about your value proposition

How often have advisors been told to be more consultative, ask open-ended questions, and deliver customized solutions? It takes a lot of back-and-forth with your client to get the information you need, and you may not know how to recognize a problem, even when the client gives you the right clue.

Read: Financial planning, not investment advice, wins clients

A prospect will quickly assess your competence, character, and compatibility. Advisors who articulate what types of client they can help and how deliver a more consistent service.

Learn from your clients what makes you special

Being an order taker is the worst situation you can find yourself in because it makes you easily replaceable. Zero in on your special skills by identifying problems you’re good at solving. You may not become an expert, but you’ll develop a clearly defined specialty.

Read: Why I’m staying with my advisor

The more clients you have with similar needs and situations, the easier it becomes to recognize a solution and help them achieve their goals.

Start with them, not you

Avoid talking about products you can offer and focus instead on aspects of their situation they may be unaware of. We recently met with a business owner who did not know the fixed-income investments within his corporation were getting taxed at a higher rate than those in his personal account. We taught him how to maintain a fixed-income portfolio, but grow his capital dividend account, which would save him a significant amount of tax.

Keith Pangretitsch is director, national sales at Russell Investments Canada Limited, who has a passion for helping advisors grow more efficient and profitable businesses. He is an active member of Russell’s Practice Management program which has worked with more than 1,200 advisory teams across North America and Europe.