Most successful advisors will max out their capacity at some point and face a critical decision to either be content where they are or make essential changes to enjoy more income and freedom. Sadly, because they’re too busy to figure out what changes to make, they plateau by default.
Here’s the good news… there’s a simple solution to this dilemma that’s fun and it just takes a little focus.
Here’s the context. Typically, advisors start their business talking to anyone they can to build their book of clients and generate the essential revenue they need. Without realizing it, they end up becoming a quivering mass of availability to all their clients and forget a fundamental truth. In any business, value equals income and by spreading themselves too thin, they dilute their value to clients who have the most potential to earn them more income. Herein lies the solution.
The key to achieving next-level success is delivering more value to clients who yield the highest return for it. How do you find these clients in your book of business? It’s simple, start with a spreadsheet of your client’s annual revenues and sort for the top 5-20% generating 65-80% of the total. Then focus more of your value on them. More on that in a minute after I address some limiting belief systems (“BS”) which typically start creeping in at this point.
Yes, every client deserves to be treated fairly and equitably but that doesn’t mean equally. And yes, you might have some clients who are friends and family or somehow connected to top clients. That’s ok. If you’ve gone to Disney World or Disneyland, perhaps you’ve used their “Fastpass” system. You pay more for this service based on your desire or need for shorter wait times to get on rides. If someone needs that service but can’t afford it, they have programs to accommodate exceptions like those with disabilities. The important point is they are the exceptions and not the rule. You can still serve these clients but appropriated based on what those services are worth in the marketplace. Would you expect an open heart surgeon to spend time diagnosing a common cold? Of course not.
Remember, revenue is oxygen to your business. As the saying goes, to help others, we need to put on our own oxygen mask first. It’s like an upside-down pyramid where the foundation of your business is built on that 5-20% who provide the most oxygen or revenue. That affords you the stability and ability to serve others out of an abundance of time and money rather than scarcity. Now, let’s talk about process.
Get Clear About Your Current Value
As you meet with your top clients over the next month, let them know you want some feedback to deliver what is most valuable to them. Then, ask three simple questions.
- Of all the things I do (or have done) for you (and your family) in our time working together, what do you find most helpful and valuable?
- If all of our clients were just like you, what 1-3 services would you advise us to do better or more of?
- Is there anything else you’d like for us to add to what we already do that would improve the quality of your life?
With a month or two of feedback from clients, make two lists. The first is what you already deliver and what your clients find most valuable. Then highlight the ones that suggested doing better or more. This is your current unique value proposition and competitive advantage. The second list includes services they would like for you to add. To this second list, whether they mentioned it or not, include “non-investment contacts.” According to studies by Russ Alan Prince and David A. Geracioti, this is the one absolute value-add that led to the affluent ($1-10M net worth) giving their advisor 16x more assets to manage and rewarding them with extreme loyalty (retention) and referrals.
Deliver More Value to Top Clients
Now you’re ready to deliver more value where it will yield the highest return. You know who these top clients are, and have clarity around your unique value offering to them. Coordinate with your team to enhance what you need to enhance and add what you need to add. In some cases, you might need to reset expectations with clients, so you get maximum value for your efforts. This is especially true with the “non-investment contacts” where you might want to schedule more times to meet in person.
Most advisors do a fair job with annual reviews or “investment contacts” where they’re doing advisory work. Very few do a good job with “non-investment contacts” outside these periodic investment meetings. What I suggest is making it a point to have at least 24 total contact points a year, two a month. These could be cards, emails, texts, simple phone calls, newsletters, periodical subscriptions with your logo or occasional update letters from your firm. The point is to show you care about them and you’re willing to invest in the relationship rather than just do the job you’re being paid to do.
Of those 24 contact points, at least 2-4 of them will be semi-annual or quarterly in-person or virtual “investment contacts” like annual reviews, mid-year reviews and thematic meetings (e.g., tax planning, estate planning, etc.). For these top clients, I encourage quarterly thematic meetings and further recommend you supplement with one in-person social “non-investment contact” like a meal, drinks, an event or attending a family function (e.g., stopping by the hospital to see their first grandchild or attending their child’s recital). Again, these count towards your 24 contact points.
To organize all of this, I help my clients create a touch-point spreadsheet so they can manage this in one simple place and share it with whoever is helping them coordinate it all. In the ideal world, all the “investment contacts” are scheduled ahead like dentist appointments. Whenever you meet, you schedule the next one before wrapping up. Then at the beginning of each month or quarter, you update the spreadsheet and work on scheduling the “non-investment contacts” for the remainder of the quarter or the following month. Once you get started, you’ll figure out a routine that works for you.
Increase Retention, Revenue and Referrals
In closing, let me acknowledge this might feel a bit overwhelming at first but here’s the good news. You don’t have to start doing this with all your top clients. Begin with 5 for the next quarter, then add another 5 the following and so on until they’re all in rotation by the end of a year or so. Keep reminding yourself of the huge payoff.
During the social “non-investment contacts” you’re going to be talking about and even meeting their sphere of influence like family, friends, and others they know. These all represent potential new clients. You’ll get better and better at finding ways to connect with others they know but it starts with creating these informal opportunities.
Lastly, because you’re deepening the relationship and trust with hopefully families you really enjoy, you’ll have a depth in the relationship no other advisor can replace. The likelihood another advisor could lure them away is slim to none. Additionally, since higher net worth clients tend to “diversify” their assets among multiple advisors, this strategy will lead to 16x more assets under management than the average advisor because they trust you enough to consolidate. It’s a winning strategy all the way around and will ultimately afford you the opportunity to work with fewer clients, make a lot more income and have the freedom to enjoy both.
We often get in our own way executing on these strategies so we’ve developed a powerful and complimentary “Confident Leader Insight Assessment” to help you remove the barriers to execution. Click HERE to take this brief but powerful assessment. Even though we know you’re name and email, the system asks for it anyway, but that information will not be shared. The report is immediate and if you have any questions about it, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a complimentary laser session to go over the key results and how to align these strategies with your personality. Just use this link to schedule a brief strategy session: Confident Leader Strategy Session.