I recently thought back to a conversation I had with Mark, one of our long-term coaching clients. He explained to me, “When you told us that today’s affluent want their financial advisor to serve as their financial quarterback, I took that to the next level. I’m not just connecting them with accountants and attorneys, I’m connecting them with professionals of all types. From dog groomers to handymen, landscapers to hand surgeons, I’m becoming quite the connector.”
Mark went on to tell me he attributed his team’s success (crossing over $1 billion in assets) to being more involved with clients. All new business has come from referrals. In other words, this elite wealth management team has no marketing plan other than proactively managing client relationships and connecting them to the best of their abilities.
The affluent client-financial advisor relationship is an interesting one. Yes, clients expect you to have a depth and breadth of industry knowledge. Yes, they expect clarity regarding their financial goals and the roadmap they’re following. Yes, they expect Ritz Carlton service and FedEx efficiency.
What they don’t expect is what Mark’s wealth management team has been providing: full service. This is exceeding expectations in spades. And Mark is convinced it’s the reason word-of-mouth-influence has been his team’s marketing drumbeat.
So how do you go about transforming your wealth management role into that of a full-service one? By doing a little homework and then applying your research one client at a time. My guess is it will take within 12 to 18 months to be perceived as full service amongst your affluent clients.
Have your team begin to collect a stable of high-quality service providers. Cast a broad net: home repairs, pets, professional services (physicians, attorneys, CPAs, tutors, coaches). Have someone make contact to ensure they’re accepting new clients and if they are, catalog all necessary contact information.
Extend client conversations beyond finances to uncover what’s going on in their life. This should provide windows of opportunity to offer recommendations. Because of the homework your team has conducted, you’ll have a strong working knowledge of whomever you’re recommending.
After the initial recommendation, you can plant the seed (as Mark did) by telling your client that you’ve got a list of service providers that you’ve vetted and highly recommend if they’re ever in need.
This is simple but requires discipline. It’s a commitment. An unintended consequence, beyond unsolicited referrals, is by involving your entire staff, your team members will take ownership – they feel like they’re providing a service. And according to Mark, the clients feel the same way about the team members.
Perhaps this is more than a subtle change, but in a world where overall trust is as fragile as fine china, investing time and energy to become a full-service provider will yield benefits for years to come.