It’s official. Times are changing, business is evolving … and so is the traditional financial services firm model.
In the not-so-distant past, being a “specialist” was the coveted title. Brand yourself as the “tax specialist” or the “retirement planning specialist for seniors,” and that becomes your business model. Although being a specialist is important, there is one problem with the business model – it’s too defined, too specific, and by virtue of the name alone, will exclude you from becoming the firm of choice by many prospective clients.
Why? It tells your prospects you handle one thing, and one thing only, and as far as the rest of the details pertaining to developing an entire financial solution… well, prospect, you’re on your own.
A financial advisor is not the only professional that is important in developing a comprehensive retirement and/or financial solution. Other professionals are equally as important and your prospects know this. They understand estate planning and tax planning are necessary, along with the financial planning component, to create a comprehensive, holistic and sustainable financial plan.
So when your prospect is faced with the decision to choose a specialist that does only one thing, or to choose a multi-disciplinary practice – where tax, legal, and financial planning professionals work together, under one roof, on its clients’ behalf – which model do you think sounds more attractive to your prospective client?
In times where convenience is a necessity, where we all live a fast-paced, multi-tasking lifestyle, a one-stop shop of planning professionals, or more appropriately termed, a “boutique” financial planning firm, becomes an attractive alternative to a prospect or client.
As a specialist, you leave your client to drive all over town to see other independent professionals to take care of the rest of their needs. You have to keep your fingers crossed as your client is driving from his CPA’s office to his lawyer’s office, hoping that one of his other chosen professionals does not have a synergistic relationship with another financial planner – one who the other professional would work with directly on the client’s behalf.
Financial planning professionals who have no strategic relationships with other service professionals are at a distinct disadvantage, and may lose clients and prospects as a result.
What is the alternative to this business structure? A solutions-driven approach to business, coined a multi-disciplinary or boutique practice. Imagine if you worked with the other service providers on the client’s behalf, because you all work for the same firm. Your firm creates the financial plan; your firm advises with tax planning and filing tax returns, etc. You all sit around a table together, review the account and quickly and effectively create the holistic financial plan and solution, integrating financial, estate, tax, and asset protection issues all at once. Because all professionals work together in the client’s best interest, estate-planning strategies are accurate and expedited.
As you move ahead in your business, keep evolving with your prospects’ needs and stay ahead of the changing business culture. Keep your services convenient for your clients by creating an all-in-one client experience that will save them time, money and energy. This will prove to keep your client a client for years to come.