Five Rules to Follow to Build a Healthy Business
To get to the top of your profession you need to ensure you only work with the right clients – then retain them for the long term. Here are five steps that will help you achieve this.
#1. Figure out your ideal client
For you, finding the ‘right’ client is just as important as finding the ‘right’ advisor is to a client. Your aim is to only work with clients who are the right fit for you, if you want your partnership to be fruitful. No matter what the size of a client’s assets – this is less important than whether they’re a good fit for your business – behaviorally, emotionally and expectations-wise.
Make sure this happens by developing a profile specifying your ideal client types. Define the behavior, challenges, problems and goals of your perfect client. Go into detail: Identify their stage of life, profession, family commitments, education level, locale, assets, interests and hobbies.
Then ask yourself what solutions you can offer to fulfil their specific requirements.
Write out your ‘ideal client profile’. Keep it short and always at hand, ready to pull it out to give to prospects who fit the bill. This is a great icebreaker. It makes you look professional and proactive – plus, you will be aligning yourself with like-minded people who can see you understand their goals.
Decide to only work with people who fit this profile. Over time you will build your reputation and become the go-to advisor for people in that specific sector, ensuring that your book will always be full.
#2. Ensure prospective clients are fully on board with the plan
You need your clients’ full co-operation if you and they are to realize your recommendations. Clients must be enthusiastic from the get-go. Remember – when someone opens an account with you they are not doing you a favor – in fact it’s you who are doing them a favor.
It’s not enough that a client has money and a need – they need to also respect what you have to say and be totally onboard with you. If a prospect says they want to ‘try you out’ by offering you the option to manage a fraction of their portfolio, alarm bells should go off. This scenario doesn’t allow you to offer them a full service. And if you aren’t offering them the full service, you are not adding true value to their lives. As well, you can’t give complete advice with half the information.
#3. Make sure all your clients know you are running a for-profit business
As a business owner you need to make a profit. A large part of your time is spent looking after your clients and your time is a scarce commodity. So, spending time tending to unprofitable clients is a drain on your resources.
If you want to grow a healthy plant, you need to prune from time to time – similarly when it comes to your business you need to encourage new, healthy growth by trimming away the ‘dead wood’.
When you decide that someone is no longer a good fit for your business, tell them right away. There’s no need to be impolite, simply say you’ve decided you cannot offer them the level of service they desire. Maybe offer to find them another advisor, one who will be a better fit.
#4. Make sure you’re paid what you’re worth
How much would someone pay to ensure they never have to face financial problems? Surely saving clients from making bad financial decisions is worth a lot. You don’t manage assets based purely on the amount of those assets, you offer advice. Just like a concierge doctor you monitor your client’s financial wellness – and this is a service that deserves a premium fee.
You offer highly attentive medicine and prevent clients from making irrational choices. Figure out what you’re worth and don’t shortchange yourself. One year at college is the cost of a good car – and good education isn’t going to get cheaper any time soon. Because of you your clients’ children will be able to go to college without having to borrow money. Because of you clients will be able to retire and live comfortably.
Your advice changes peoples’ lives for the better so charge what you are worth.
#5. Personalize your service and treat each client as the VIP they are
Personalize your service to ensure good clients stay with you for the long term. If a client realizes you totally understand their problems – and that you have the solution to them – they will not leave. Make their experience outstanding. Focus on creating a phenomenal client experience. Become friends with your clients because people don’t fire their friends.
It won’t happen overnight, but if you follow these rules and stick religiously to them, you’ll grow a healthy business with a book full of happy clients, happy to recommend you to others.