When I go to meetings like the Million Dollar Round Table, everyone says that advisors need to upgrade their clientele by calling on the top third of their prospects. But understand that not only is there a top third and bottom two-thirds of clients, there is also a top third and bottom two-thirds of advisors. And only the top third of advisors can deal with the top third of clients.
The bottom two-thirds of advisors need to become part of the top third first. How does one do this? There are several steps, including: (1) “moving up” through advanced educational designations and professional associations; (2) “moving over” with bridging techniques that include on purpose positioning, heat-seeking referrals, social styles pre-approaches and a cross-selling matrix; and (3) creating a unique value proposition.
The last should include a “3-Dimensional Wealth” plan, which comprises a family legacy manuscript in conjunction with a comprehensive financial plan and a private foundation delivered at a family retreat.
On purpose positioning
On purpose positioning is a strategic approach to predetermining with whom you want to work. Heat-seeking referrals is a technique to force the name of the referral with whom you want to meet from the referrer.
At our firm, Diefendorf Capital Planning Associates, we use pre-approaches based on the social style of our prospects. We obtain information from our referrer that will aid in determining whether our prospect is assertive or nonassertive, responsive or nonresponsive. We tailor our letters and telephone calls to the prospect’s personality type (i.e., driver, expressive, amiable or analytical.) And, lastly, we refer to our cross-selling matrix to assure that we bridge the relationship to other organizations in our practice (i.e., insurance, tax preparation, investment advisory, financial planning or mortgages).
But getting to see the “right” prospects is only part of the battle. How do you become the “mover and shaker” that will deliver the unique value proposition to turn your prospect into a client? In our practice, the answer was to redefine wealth–to help clients not only with their financial wealth, but also with their personal and social wealth. This “3-dimensional wealth” includes both tangible assets (those wrapped in dollar signs) and intangible assets (passions, values, convictions, beliefs, wisdom, knowledge, etc.).
By synchronizing and eliminating the friction that occurs when unclear 3-dimensional goals exist, we can enhance the fulfillment clients have during their lives. Total wealth management engenders a bottom-up hierarchy of planning that includes 4 stages: fragmentation, segmentation, integration, and synchronization.
Stage I: Fragmentation. This is the natural result of accumulating financial assets, including IRAs, business assets, real estate, insurance, investments, etc. The individual does not give much thought to how these items relate to one another. But over time, fragmentation becomes an increasingly inefficient way to handle wealth. To become financially successful, clients need to enter Stage II.
Stage II: Segmentation. In this stage, we hire professionals, including an accountant, a lawyer and an investment advisor, thereby reorganizing the individual pieces into a segmented structure. Too often, however, each of the advisors acts independently, leaving the client to pull the pieces together into a comprehensive plan. But this structure leaves much to be desired, so we move to Stage III.
Stage III: Integration. Comprehensive financial planning is the integration of all of the financial products and financial disciplines into a well-designed strategic plan. A combination of parts or objects that work together well, integration is the ultimate goal of the financial planner and individual client. But this stage deals only with one’s finances. To address intangible objectives, we need to move to Stage IV.