I am often asked what are the really ‘big’ things you need to do to guarantee success when it comes to client acquisition and retention.
While of course there is no silver bullet, here are three critical initiatives that will make a huge difference, and that are often overlooked or not treated seriously enough by financial advisers.
Recruit and retain brilliant people only
It usually all comes back to the quality of your people, and in particular your financial advisers. Very successful businesses rarely have poor people in the frontline and only recruit the best. Yes, they end up paying more for the best people, but they tend to get the results back in spades. Getting good people takes a lot of time and effort and there’s often a temptation to settle for someone who you can recruit quicker and cheaper. Don’t – it’s a mistake.
If you’ve managed to achieve getting the right people in place, it’s even more important that you then manage to hang on to them and maximise their talents.
To do so, you’re going to have to think outside the box a bit… Yes, money will be important to them; however, money alone won’t be enough. Good people want to grow, they want to have great careers. You need to help them achieve this through insightful mentoring (either by you or an external consultant) and through facilitating them build their knowledge and qualifications. Do they want to qualify as a CFP, or even consider an MBA? Find out, and then help them achieve it.
Develop clear client activity plans… and then deliver them
You need to know who your top clients are – they are the lifeblood of your business.
I haven’t met an advice firm yet that only has paying clients, as most have vast numbers of clients who are in fact single historical transactions. Those clients that are paying you year after year, through trail, renewal commission or fees need to be minded very carefully.
You need to have a clear line of sight of all the touch points you will have with these clients throughout the year. These might be review meetings, planned phone calls, structured emails, client entertaining events, seminars – whatever! You need to plan who will receive which of these, and then ensure that they are delivered.
Capture your client data effectively, and then use it!
Many advice firms are running into problems year after year because of the poor quality of their data. While you might know your clients well, it’s pretty near useless if this information is only in your head.
Capturing data is hard, but it shouldn’t be considered too hard. Apart from the compliance benefits of capturing your data in a very structured way, it will also play a huge role in you knowing your prospects and clients better, engaging them more appropriately in a targeted way and ultimately leading you towards greater numbers of new clients and product cross sales with existing clients.
If you have good data on prospects, you can target them more effectively, making them feel like you are reaching out specifically to them, rather than talking to the world at large. We all prefer to receive communications that we believe were designed with us in mind!
So there you have it! Three areas that I believe will make an enormous difference to your sales in 2016. None of them are easy… but each of them is hugely worth the effort.
Eamonn Twomey is the principal of marketing and strategy business StepChange
This article originally featured in Risk Adviser's sister publication Adviser Innovation
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