This blog post originally appeared on the High Performing Practice website. If you want to choose to improve your financial services practice, visit their blog for more ideas.
Last week I introduced the idea of providing value as the one thing to focus on for growth, and I broke down five different areas to study to determine if you are providing value. And in past weeks, I’ve talked about how value is measured.
Although returns against a benchmark are one indicator, value includes so much more than price. Price is a commodity; value is not. And it’s up to us to make sure our clients understand the difference.
To grow, even when the market isn’t doing as well as we’d like, you need to pay attention to how to build value in your business. This will allow you to retain clients, recruit new clients and to remain relevant in the greatest shift from the workforce to retirement that we’ve seen in the United States.
The first hurdle is to change client perception. This can be tricky, but it’s an essential part of driving value. First, we need to help them understand the difference between price and value. Price is how much your clients pay for a financial plan. Price is measured by how much greater return your client receives versus what they paid. That value is the relative worth of your overall relationship.
Of the five components of value we will be looking at, the first one to discuss is excellence. So, how do you define excellence? I believe it’s the art of paying attention to the client. Of making it a priority to understand the client’s entire need—their goal for their financial future. It’s not just asset management or insurance. It is the entire breadth of a relationship. Excellence means a willingness to collaborate with others on areas that aren’t your expertise. It’s taking the time to look under every rock, leaving no stone unturned.
I’d also like to discuss the second component that drives value, and that’s consistency. As a student basketball manager at Indiana, I was around Coach Knight for four years. His game preparation was legendary. And his game preparation was consistent. Just as Coach Knight followed the same process for each game, you need to follow the same process for each of your clients.
Consistency is important not only from a regulatory standpoint but, most importantly, it’s important from a referral standpoint. If your clients understand what their referral will experience, they’re more likely to refer you to people who they know, like and trust. It allows them to set the expectation for their friend or family member.
Consistency gives your client confidence. It gives your staff confidence. And it increases your chances of success while decreasing the chances that anything important will be overlooked.
When our clients are confident in our ability to drive value, they will find it easier to make the decision to stick with you.
You want to grow your business, but you’re not sure where to start. For many, it can be hard to focus in on a course of action. And, once an action has been set in motion, even harder to have the endurance to see it through.
Does any of this sound familiar? You have clear ideas of what you want to achieve. And you have not-so-clear ideas of how to get there. So you try one marketing plan for a couple of months, second guess yourself, switch gears and start something new. And then repeat. Before you know, time has passed with no real growth to show for it.
The real question to ask yourself is: What’s the one thing that can really be meaningful to clients and that they can grasp onto?
When trying to answer that question, there’s a temptation to make a list. But there’s really just one simple thing that you need to focus in on to grow your business, and it’s not a magic wand. It’s also not something that’s easily measured, so I don’t have a lot of analytics to share. The answer? Focus on adding value.
With a strong focus on providing value, it is possible to grow your business, attract quality people and remain relevant in the greatest shift from the workforce to retirement that we’ve ever seen.
According to Bob Burg and John David Man’s book The Go-Giver, value is defined by making sure that you give more value than you take payment. And it doesn’t matter how that value is delivered. It can be delivered virtually, face-to-face
or through written communication.
Delivering value makes a difference at any time, but even more so now, while we are challenged with a global pandemic.
You might be wondering about measuring value. How do you quantify it? Use these five areas to determine if you are providing value:
By focusing on those five things, the fifth one in particular, you can develop significant metrics to determine your success. And stay with us. Over the next few weeks, we’ll provide an in-depth look at each of these five areas.
But you don’t have to wait. If you’d like more information about how we can help you grow your business, click below to schedule a transformational call. We’ll help you learn how to remain relevant in this great shift from the workforce to retirement.
As stay-at-home orders continue and conditions remain uncertain, you should be thinking about reevaluating your marketing strategy. After all, the information your clients are searching for is probably different from just a few weeks ago. Think about what you’re focused on now. Is it the same as it was before the pandemic hit?
I’ve been reading a lot of industry articles and talking with a lot of advisors. One of the first things advisors tell me is that they are thinking about discontinuing marketing to avoid laying off support staff. If that’s your thinking, I commend you. But as an alternative to cutting marketing altogether, maybe the answer is to determine if you’re spending too much. If the marketing budget is the first thing to go, it may be too large to begin with. So, how much can you cut? Let’s start with what we’re trying to accomplish.
High Performing Practice has three main goals:
Today, more than 51% of American retirees retired before the age of 65. Early retirement is usually caused by job layoffs or a health crisis that forces them into retirement. Today we are facing a looming recession and more jobs lost than ever before and soaring unemployment claims. It’s likely that many clients between the ages of 55 and 62 will opt-in to premature retirement and sustain themselves for a longer period of time with fewer assets. Certainly, a bad market situation gives us an opportunity to help and to capture more business. Of course, we need to market ourselves if we are going to make a difference.
Let’s keep it simple and effective. There are three main items you should focus your marketing on over the next couple of weeks:
1. Consider developing transitional call-to-actions. Post downloadable one-page fliers on your website on topics that are relevant right now. Ideas include:
All pieces should be basic and easy-to-read and understand. These are topics audiences are searching for now and will hit search engine optimization. Capture email addresses from downloads and use them for proactive marketing
2. Focus on emotion. As you also rearrange your digital assets and determine how you want to communicate, make sure that you speak to the three levels of emotion: the external, the internal and the philosophical.
You can’t listen to the news without hearing about market losses of 20% or more, a fact that creates fear and anxiety. Instead of focusing on the market, help fill a prospective client’s larger concern — finding an advisor that aligns with their philosophical beliefs. We believe that everyone should have a secure retirement and free of worrying, not to run out of money. Convey that message to your clients. You can’t help if they don’t trust you.
3. Create a clear and defined path. Many clients have been exhausted by a relationship with the previous financial planner, or they have exhausted themselves trying to plan their financial futures alone. Most clients are looking for a solution that requires the least amount of time, effort and energy. But they still need your advice. Cut through their fears with a clear and simple strategy.
Although we are experiencing challenges we didn’t anticipate, clients are ready to focus. They need your help now more than ever. And with a clear message, you can provide a valuable service, for a smaller budget, even in the midst of a pandemic.
© 2018 Ash Brokerage LLC.