Pablo Picasso said “Action is the foundational key to all success.” Yes, we all know that inaction builds nothing, and there is no question that implementing ideas is a critical ingredient to the success of your advisory practice. However, there is one caveat to the action imperative: You must make sure you’re taking the right action. As the late Jim Rohn shared: “If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around.”
With these two ideas taken together, I think you see exactly where I am going. If you’re seeking to transform your practice, you not only need to take a lot of action, but you need to be sure that any action you do take is applied in the right direction.
With that in mind, I’d like to offer you six actions that I have taken in my practice that have had transformative effects on my ability to attract, serve, and retain my most valuable clients. They may not all apply directly to you, so take the time to consider which ones might work for your practice. Transformational Action # 1. Craft a Clear New Client Process
Do your prospective clients know exactly what to expect from you when you first meet? As advisors, we have to remember that revealing the details of one’s financial life to a stranger would be terrifying. Imagine what must be going through their minds: Will he judge me? Will she tell people how I’m doing financially? How will she even be able to help me?
By investing the time to craft a clear step-by-step process, your prospective clients gain the security of knowing what to expect when they meet with you. It allows them to anticipate the kinds of information they should prepare for you and what kind of outcome to expect – which ultimately makes them much more comfortable with you. This process also has the benefit of helping you prepare for a smooth discussion, allowing you to better reach your goal of helping to improve their situation.
Additionally, this can give you a one-up on your peers when your process becomes what you actually sell. With this approach, you don’t sell products or strategies; you sell a process and a methodology. It shapes all of your marketing as well as your client service once a person chooses you as their advisor. Before I developed our Four Dimension Review Process, I looked like any other salesperson. Now, I operate as other professionals do. If you don’t have a process, stop reading and begin building one. It’s that important to you and your clients. Transformational Action # 2. Offer Frequent Education Sessions
If you have ever purchased a new car or remodeled a kitchen, it’s likely that there was no end to the amount of information you could consume about the purchase. Brochures, trips to the showroom, discussions with friends, you name it. People who are considering choosing a new advisor are no different. By offering regular education sessions to prospective and current clients, you accomplish several very powerful objectives.
For one, they get to learn from you without being “sold.” This offers them context for their decisions and also builds their trust in you. After all, if you know your stuff well enough to teach it, wouldn’t you be a compelling choice to manage their life savings?
As a secondary and equally beneficial outcome, you now have a safe place for your best clients to invite their friends when the opportunity arises. One of your best clients has a friend who asks whether they are planning to claim Social Security at 62 or wait. “It’s funny you should ask. My financial advisor is hosting a Lunch & Learn on that very subject next Thursday. Why don’t you join me?” Transformational Action # 3. Develop a Client Service Brochure
Do you have great client service? Care to prove it? Consider developing a service brochure. Even if it’s just a single page, summarize the services you offer your clients and make this part of your first meeting agenda. For example, list all of the ways that you can be reached, including phone, email, and your various social media channels. If you offer a monthly newsletter, mention that as well as the weekly market commentaries, quarterly client social events and quarterly client progress reviews. You also want to list your team members’ contact information.