It is time we talked about Streamlining!
Firstly for you – to give you more time to think, spend time with your family and friends, exercise and have fun. Secondly the client – they deserve an advisor who is keenly interested in them, happy to provide a quality service and wants to share in their future.
We have the answer!
Over the last 10 years we have been working with very successful advisors, helping them streamline their practice. Assisting them in analysing their current customer base, slicing and dicing it to make sure that they are looking after the right sort of clients, and selling off the rest.
This sounds a bit cold and clinical as I am sure that most of us love all our clients, but the reality of professional life is that we cannot be all things to all men. Most of us developed our client base in a pretty haphazard fashion without a specific profile to work to. The net effect is that we have lots of clients that we can assist, but some more than others. Regrettably we have another bunch of clients who we often neglect simply because we cannot relate well to them or their needs are not inside our expertise.
First of all let’s explore the reasons why we should streamline our client base.
We can divide it neatly into the benefits.
- Let us start with the clients. Those clients for whom you are not the ideal advisor would be much better placed with someone who sees them as an ‘A’ client.
It is quite amazing what happens when someone purchases those clients from you. All of a sudden they are overwhelmed with service, motivation and positiveness, mainly because the advisor who has bought them has paid a good price, and is keen to get the best out of his investment.
Secondly the clients you keep get a huge benefit. You can focus all of your efforts on a smaller number, do a better job and as a direct result re-grow your customer base in a much more structured fashion. In another article I will share some of the stories around these things.
- Let us look at the seller, i.e. you. I have recommended to a number of excellent advisors that they sit down with a couple of blank sheets of paper and jot down the client names of the top 200 that they would like to have as clients for the rest of their professional life. Not just the biggest earners, maybe the most pleasant, the most interesting or those that you perceive are in growth mode. We have then assisted them to analyse the rest and find the best possible home for them.
The first benefit for the advisor selling is that they free up capital that they can then spend on their practice, retire debt, or use it to enjoy themselves with their family and friends.
The second benefit is to minimise risk. By having a smaller and more intensely managed client base, potential compliance issues are going to be minimised. It is much better to know a lot of about a little, rather than a little about a lot!
- Let us now look at the purchaser. Regrettably there are very few ‘hunter’ advisors out there, for a variety of reasons almost all of them are ‘farmers’. The opportunity to acquire new customers by purchase makes more and more economic sense than trying to acquire them through face to face marketing methods. Given that there is normally some sort of income stream attached, often it is also a good commercial concept.
What I love about it is that many clients who perhaps have remained passive in the books of an advisor all of a sudden find a brand new face in front of them. The brand new face is going to go back to first principles, and frequently uncovers opportunities for either risk or investments that the previous advisor missed. Secondly they are very keen to get to know that client well, and the client may well be pleasantly surprised as to how much more communication and face to face time they get. Thirdly, the new advisor gets a new lease of life, and the additional activity not only consolidates his relationship with the new clients, but generates other benefits such as referrals.
So what should you do as an advisor? I suggest that you do the following
- Take a piece of paper and write down the number of clients that you want to actively deal with year in and year out. It would be pretty unusual for an investment advisor to have over 100 or 150, a risk advisor maybe 200 – 250.
How many are going to be left over? No matter how rose tinted your glasses, you have to be objective and put them in the list. If you want some help with this, contact us and we will provide you with processes on how you decide who to keep and who to leave.
- Now have us analyse and quote a value on the rest. They may well be scattered around and may have to be repackaged to be sold to a number of different advisors in different regions. That is part of the work we do.