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Passionate about your business

Quote of the week

I hated every minute of training but I said to myself, don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.

Muhammad Ali

6 things holding advisers back

In our consultancy work with the financial planning sector, we often identify that the same key “blockages” or challenges are holding advisers back from achieving the results they are looking for.

1. No clear vision

Most advisers are so busy keeping all their plates spinning, that they simply haven’t taken the time to define, clarify and write down what they want their business to look like 3 or 5 years from now.

2. No Plan

Those that do have some idea of the kind of business they are looking to build haven’t taken the crucial next step of setting clear goals and establishing a plan to achieve them.

3. Poor Execution

In the chaos that is “business as usual”, even those that do have a plan, often struggle to execute that plan effectively. They delude themselves into thinking that having a plan is the thing that matters, when in reality, the plan is useless if you don’t, won’t or can’t implement it.

4. Wrong measures

Many advisers don’t look beyond revenue when it comes to tracking how their business is performing. Measures that look at productivity, profitability and client quality (AUM or recurring revenue per client for example) are much more likely to give you a true picture of how well you’re really doing and what your business might be worth.

5. Inconsistent marketing

The problem with marketing for many advisers is that they don’t do any! Developing a range of carefully targeted, sustained and consistent marketing strategies and tactics designed specifically for your target markets, where the messaging is focused on the challenges, worries, concerns that the client is facing is crucial for generating a sustainable flow of new client enquiries.

6. No differentiation

Any potential client searching for financial planning advice is likely to start by asking friends for a recommendation or by searching online. For those who do check out advisers online, their search results are likely to generate a list of…

similar businesses with…

similar websites talking about…

similar services that deliver…

similar benefits at a…

similar price through…

similar people with…

similar qualifications and paid…

similar salaries who use…

similar technology to research and recommend…

similar products.

When everything looks the same, what factor will potential clients typically use to make their decision about who to work with? Price. And, if you compete on price, it’s probably best not to win!

Quote of the week

Your company doesn’t define customer experience. Customers do. Customer experience is based on how your customers perceive your organisation and how well you meet their needs when they interact with, hear about and do business with your company”

Michael Hinshaw and Bruce Kasanoff, “Smart Customers, Stupid Companies”

Delivering an Outstanding Client Experience – Part 1

This is the first in a series of 9 videos on how financial advisers and planners can deliver client experience and level of service that delights their clients, sets them apart from the competition and results in effortless referrals through word of mouth.

In this first video we explore why “client experience” is so important to your business.

Quote of the week

For all sad words of tongue or pen the saddest are these: It might have been.

John Greenleaf Whittier

The “client journey”

I believe that for a financial planning business, it’s important to develop a consistent, scalable and repeatable “client journey”, which supports the “on-boarding” of clients and delivery of initial advice. Very often, the way that clients are “on-boarded” is variable and inconsistent. This is particularly the case in large multi-adviser businesses, where each adviser prefers to do things their way rather than follow, even broadly, a defined and consistent approach.

The result is that the client experience can vary significantly, depending on which adviser they are working with. This means that there is no genuine brand value being created and crucially, that clients will say and feel very different things about your business.

Spending time considering what you want the client experience to look like, based of course on what really matters to clients and then designing your processes to deliver that, is the key to establishing yourself as a business that delights clients at every touchpoint. Mapping the ideal client journey from the moment an initial enquiry is received all the way through to the point where the advice has been fully implemented is a great way to create a really high quality client experience that feels tailored to each client, but is supported by a consistent, scalable and repeatable process.

The crucial thing to remember as you consider these questions is to look at the whole journey from the client’s perspective. Try to ignore what you do currently. Climb inside the mind and skin of your ideal client and create the sort of experience you’d like to have, if you were them. Better still, design it around what they have told you really matters to them.


Quote of the week

If you cannot risk, you cannot grow. If you cannot grow, you cannot become your best. If you cannot become your best, you cannot be happy. If you cannot be happy, what else matter?

Dr David Viscott

A tipping point

In their 2012 report, entitled UK Wealth Management sector at a tipping point, KPMG highlighted what it called a “discernable trend amongst affluent investors towards managing portfolios themselves” and made the following observations from the research they’d conducted with

41 CEOs across the UK WM industry

300 High & Ultra High Net Worth individuals

That research suggested that such clients are

  • More rigorous in their dealings with wealth managers – holding them to account for the fees they charge
  • More curious about robustness of institutions holding their money
  • More acutely focused on value for money
  • More sceptical about pricing and product
  • More willing to use low cost asset classes
  • More willing to run portfolios on D2C or execution only platforms
  • Redefining what they want
  • Less willing to be loyal to a single wealth manager and more willing to split their portfolios and at much lower levels
  • More price sensitive towards TERs
  • More likely to want to understand what they are paying for

With such clear client requirements and concerns emerging, it’s more important than ever to be able to demonstrate and communicate where your value is.

Quote of the week

Curiosity is caring in action… it is proof of your commitment to serve, help and transform

Steve Chandler, “How To Get Clients

Why “client experience” matters

In a recent white paper, James Edsberg of Gulland Padfield, defined client experience (as it relates to the wealth management sector) as… “everything not related to the performance of financial products”.

Delivering a really memorable and differentiated client experience leads to delighted clients who remain loyal, don’t worry about the fees you charge and refer you to their friends family and colleagues without being asked. They also have a completely different perception of the value you bring to the relationship.

Why is that? Its because “satisfied is a rating… delight is an emotion.

How well placed are you to deliver a great client experience? Well, it starts with putting the client, not the client’s money, at the centre of absolutely everything you do.


And for me delivering a great client experience is the only way to achieve sustainable differentiation.