Do you ever think to yourself, “I can do better than this”? Are you ready to take things up a level? If you are, then here are some issues to consider that are important for all advisers and business owners.
Let’s start with a question; what’s the most important thing to do if you want to generate more referrals from the clients you work with?
This is going to sound almost blasphemous, but it’s got very little to do with your technical skills, and this is the tricky bit for most financial planning professionals.
Showing what you know
Here’s the issue laid out for you. When you started as an adviser, like everyone else, you knew very little. The first years of your career were spent desperately trying to learn the technical stuff. And let’s be honest there is an awful lot to learn.
If you were super keen and focused on your clients, then you bought into the whole Financial Planning concept, which involved another level of technical knowledge that you needed to master.
So by now you know your onions. Great.
However, you still might not be getting the traction in your business that you would expect from all of this effort. Clients don’t seem to quite understand how magnificent you are when compared to the average adviser. That can be mighty frustrating.
What’s the real issue?
You’ve operated on the basis that if you ‘build a better mousetrap’ people will flock to your door. However, clients can’t tell the difference between one mousetrap over another (one adviser over another). If you are a potential client all mousetraps (all advisers) look the same.
That hurts, doesn’t it? It’s a painful truth. Surely once clients experience your amazing recommendations they’ll get it.
Sorry to disappoint you, but they won’t. Most clients are just not knowledgeable enough to know if you are any good or not technically. They are going to judge you on one thing and one thing only:
How you make them feel
It’s all about the client experience
It’s a given that you know what you are doing as an adviser. Just as when we board a flight we assume the pilot went to pilot school and did what it takes to get licensed.
Industry insiders, like you and I, know there are better and worse advisers. I’m sure pilots know who is better and worse in their profession.
It’s not how I choose an airline though, is it?
If the price is cheap enough and the flight is short enough I’ll fly with almost anyone. However, if I’m going to be on the flight for a long time (when I fly home to Australia for instance), I start to get more interested in the quality of the experience.
So how do you get more traction with clients and take your business to the next level?
The quickest way to achieve your goal is to focus on the client experience:
How do you and your team answer the phone?
What information do clients receive from you prior to the meeting?
How are clients greeted on arrival?
Do they get a named car parking space that’s easy to locate?
Does your website and branding look amazing?
At a couple of firms I know staff peek out the window if it’s raining waiting for clients to arrive, and then run out with umbrellas as the clients get out of their car.
Asking great questions and listening to the responses (as I discussed in my blog 3 Ways To Sharpen Up Your Sales Skills) also sends a powerful message to clients that you have their interests at heart. In fact, I would argue that an adviser who knows less technically, but can ask great questions and provide the client with space to respond, will fare much better than a technical genius.
Using cash-flow models live on screen to engage with clients is more powerful than sending written reports.
Communication is key
I was reminded of the ‘how you make people feel’ issue when my wife and I had some building work done recently.
The builders had been recommended by a Chartered Surveyor that we trusted. So we assumed they could do the work, which turned out to be true. However, now that the job has concluded we won’t be referring them to any of our neighbours, friends or family.
You know the story already. On one day they just didn’t show up. I called them about 10:00 a.m. to find out what was going on, and they said they were finishing another job. They meant to call but didn’t. On other days they left early without explanation.
The bottom line was they were really poor at communicating. It was frustrating and annoying. I don’t believe they did anything that was untoward. The job seems good. I’m pretty sure in their field they build great mousetraps. But they won’t get any more work from us.
Vive la difference!
Where are you focusing your efforts in 2017? Is it on how you make your clients feel; their experience in working with you? Or is it on getting more qualifications and doing an even better technical job?
If you want to take your business to the next level and generate the engagement, recognition, and love that you deserve for being so good, then I’d encourage you to focus on the client experience and getting it absolutely nailed.
As a wise person once told me, when it comes to marketing your business, “It’s better to be different than it is to be better.”