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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Building a Business, Part II: Creating a "What's Important to You?" Document for Prospective Clients

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Business has been very good lately. I attribute this to a number of factors, including the process I follow when meeting with a prospective client. A prospective client wants to know you can be trusted, that you are reasonably good at what you do, and that you are accessible. Basically, they want to be able to sleep well at night knowing their financial assets are being well managed. In my opinion, if you can articulate this in a concise way that doesn’t sound like it’s all about you, and show that you care about them first and foremost, you’ll have a better-than-average shot at earning their business. Following are some of the key steps in my process.

Learning From Your Experiences

Every time you lose a prospective client, it’s wise to find out why. It’s also a good idea to ask your current clients why they hired you. This information can prove invaluable and help you create an effective process for acquiring and retaining clients.

Basic Marketing

It’s really pretty simple–find out what clients and prospective clients want and then provide it (if you can). To help accomplish this I have spent some time developing a document called “What’s Important to You?” Over the past several months I have received numerous requests from advisors who have been following my blog asking for a copy of my version of this document. While I haven’t made it available, I thought I’d do the next best thing and help you create your own. If you are interested, here is the step-by-step process.

Creating Your Own “What’s Important to You?” Document

Start by listing the areas in which you do business. Let’s say you do financial planning and investment management. Your document should have three sections: financial planning, investment management, and service. Under each section list the key issues you address in your practice. For example, with investment management you might list, “Knowing the level of risk in your portfolio.” In the area of service you might include, “Having your phone calls returned promptly.” Remember, each item is preceded by the question, “How important is the following?” After you create your list make sure your items are properly categorized. If you have too many items in any category, select the most important ones to include in your final document. The document should have three columns. The first contains the specific items (as noted above). The second column is for ranking the item’s importance from 1 (not important) to 5 (very important). The last column contains the words “Yes” and “No.” The prospective client would circle “Yes” if his current advisor provides the service and “No” if he does not.

After the prospective client answers the questions you can focus your discussion on those items with the highest priority and which are also not being provided by their current advisor.

Using this will add more consistency to your initial meetings.

Let me know if this helps.


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