Ever wondered how some financial services businesses thrive during periods of economic uncertainty and property market downturns, whilst others struggle to survive?
Well, have you heard about Percy Shaw, the man who invented cat's eyes - those reflective road studs that have saved countless lives by lighting up our highways and byways?
The story goes something like this…
One dark night, Percy was driving back from the pub to his home in Halifax.
The journey took him along a particularly perilous road - unlit and twisty, with a sheer drop on one side.
Several times, Percy narrowly avoided leaving the road and plummeting to his death.
But then, just as he was wondering if he’d ever make it safely home, the headlights of Percy’s car picked up something unexpected….
A pair of glowing eyes at the side of the road.
But this was no fellow human.
It was a cat, sitting nonchalantly on the road's edge, whose eyes were being illuminated by the car's headlamps.
The reflected light from the cat's eyes served as a vital marker, providing Percy with just enough guidance to stay safely on the road and avoid a potential catastrophe.
And it was this eureka moment - a close shave with danger averted by a cat's luminescent eyes - which inspired Percy to create the reflective road studs we now know as "cat's eyes".
Wonderful though this story sounds, it isn’t actually true.
Nor is it true that if the cat had been facing the other way, Mr Shaw would have invented the pencil sharpener instead.
The real circumstances of Percy's invention are slightly less dramatic, but no less inspiring.
As someone who ran a road repair business, Percy Shaw had been thinking about how to make night-time driving safer for a while.
He’d observed how hard it was to drive along treacherous roads during the blackout conditions of World War II (when streetlights were turned off to avoid guiding enemy bombers).
And he’d noted how the tram tracks that crisscrossed British roads back then were fitted with their own reflectors, which made night-time driving a bit easier. But once trams were out of the picture, and the tracks were pulled up, these roads became more challenging for cars to navigate.
And it was this observation, coupled with Percy’s practical mind, that led to the invention of cat's eyes.
So, yes - a cat's eyes might have provided a catchy name, but the invention was fundamentally a result of Percy Shaw's resourcefulness and clear understanding of a real-world issue.
He saw a problem - treacherous blackout conditions - and came up with a solution that, quite literally, illuminated the way.
Now, when you’re running a financial services business, there are going to be times when you experience your own blackout conditions - like when interest rates are rising, lenders are pulling products, or stock markets are taking a tumble.
And, at times like this, you can look to Percy Shaw and his cat’s eyes for inspiration.
You see, when the going gets tough, it becomes even more important for your financial service business to have a clear value proposition.
Because a well-written value proposition sets you apart from your competitors and lets your business shine brightly during the blackout periods of market downturns or economic uncertainties.
It tells prospects why they should do business with you rather than anyone else, and makes the benefits of your products or services crystal clear from the outset.
A value proposition not only makes you visible to your clients, but also invaluable.
Maybe it's your specialist knowledge of a particular segment of the market, or your unique approach to problem-solving.
Whatever your cat's eyes are, make sure they shine the brightest when they're needed the most.
After all, it's your ability to guide and support in the darkest times that will truly set you apart as a mortgage broker or financial adviser.
Crafting a strong value proposition that does all of this can be a bit daunting if you’ve never done it before.
Which is why it’s one of the first things we help you do when you join The Predictable Pipeline Programme.
The programme includes some simple-to-follow training on value propositions that will walk you through the same process I use to craft these compelling marketing messages for my 1-2-1 clients.
Plus you’ll get access to loads of example value propositions you can use for inspiration.
If you’d like to know more about the programme, click here.
It’s often the simplest things that make the biggest impact.
Just as Percy Shaw’s simple invention revolutionised night-time driving, a clear but powerful value proposition can make the world of difference to your success as a mortgage broker or financial adviser.
It doesn't have to be complicated or flamboyant, but it has to be solid, clear, and unique to you.
When it is, it can help steer your ideal clients to you, effortlessly - even in the tough times we’re facing at the moment.
And remember, if you're looking for a proven process to follow to shape your own cat eyes, the value proposition module in The Predictable Pipeline Programme will suit you purr-fectly.