I work with many financial advisors on their marketing. As we start planning for 2019, we try to uncover what they have done well. Simply put, what works. We also look for potential opportunities to expand their business. One of my clients has been in business for years, recognized as leader in his markets for many years, but 2018 has been an up and down year.
My job as their performance coach is to help them discover what they can do to accelerate growth in 2019 and beyond. I use a marketing assessment to uncover differences year to year. On closer examination of his marketing activities, we realized his long-term clients have been buying fewer of his high-end services than in the past. He has an extensive client base. This is good. However, he’s struggling to understand what his clients buy and why.
I find many advisors in a similar situation. They are very, very busy but they aren’t certain how to cultivate key client relationships to the next level of commitment required to build a more engaging client relationship. In 2019, you need to earn your seat at the table. Many wealthier clients are experimenting with robo-advisors. I believe this is the best time to open a larger discussion with your best clients.
When your revenue comes from increasing client investments, its critical you have an ongoing client development strategy. I help my clients segment their clients by potential opportunities and what could be happening with their clients in the coming years.
Let me share my client segmentation process for 2019 to show you what I mean. It’s designed to help my clients identify their best clients and what they might need in the future. I’ve applied this process for many years with clients and typically it jumps revenue between 15-20% in the coming year.
The first question I ask my clients is are they certain they have the right client? Many of us have clients that we should have replaced years ago with better clients. It’s very easy to invest much more time in a difficult client than to try to acquire a new one.
Your best clients for 2019 should share these characteristics:
- They have a history of building productive, long term relationships with their advisors.
- They are strong leaders.
- They have a reputation with the markets they serve.
- The client is large enough to grow without increasing strain on their financial resources.
- They are ambitious with their personal and professional goals.
- They have long history of using services like yours.
If you want to increase your revenue in 2019 you need to understand these key attributes of your clients for success. This means that you must know more about your clients personally.
Many advisors fall into the trap of looking at their clients’ organizations for growth opportunities and miss the individual client because they are so busy. If you have better clients your business growth will accelerate.
The next set of questions I ask involve your client’s agenda. Great financial advisors understand their clients’ agendas. They help their client focus on critical elements required to achieve the client’s goals. No matter what the election results, 2019 requires you to understand your client’s world view better. You may be surprised how it’s changing.
What are the right issues for your clients to concentrate on in 2019? Here’s several things to consider as you put together your client development plans for 2019.
- Are there issues your client has tried to bring up but still feels like they haven’t been addressed?
- Are the unfulfilled opportunities your client feels pain around?
- What is the most complex problem your client is facing in the long-term financial planning? Are you working with them to help them work through the process?
- Are you able to provide a viable option to seize this opportunity?
- Have you helped your client understand why they should own their own financial future?
Over the years, your clients can gradually feel disconnected from the financial planning process. 2019 should be the year you reconnect your clients to their vision and values of their financial mission.
Many of my most successful clients have turned off the news. You still have time to help your clients disconnect for the 2018 election cycle. 2019 will be an amazing year of opportunities for you and your clients. But only if they are not in overwhelm from a political season unlike what we’ve seen in the past.
2019 should be an incredible year for financial advisors. You need to consider how you take your best client relationships to the next level. You may have noticed I focused on the soft side of client relationships. I wanted to get you thinking about best clients before next week. There are hard metrics you can apply to client analysis process. Our next blog will help you focus on these critical performance factors.
See you next week.