If you are like most financial advisors you started in the business with one or two clients and over the years have worked really hard to add new names to your client roster. You fill your arsenal with credentials and a growing list of clients, and your days get busier and busier. On some days, it might even feel like your clients are running the show.
It recently struck me that if you start thinking about client management with the same level of intention you think about investment management, you can take back that control. After all, your client base is your biggest asset.
You manage your client’s money, with a long-term financial planning outlook to achieve a set of goals—college education, retirement, and perhaps the desire to leave a legacy. Constant attention to diversification, asset allocation, and good portfolio management practices enable you to get the best return on investment for your clients over the long-term. And your ongoing client conversations center around progress to goals, and the value you add as an advisor.
Applying these same best practice investment management techniques to client management will help drive your business in the right direction, rather than let your clients drive you.
“Start with the end in mind.” Stephen Covey’s 2nd Habit from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Perhaps your goal is to build a business that gives you the freedom to spend time doing what you love; a business that will sustain you over the long-term.
With the same level of attention and focus on putting together an ideal portfolio for your clients, you might start thinking about how to best manage your client portfolio. In your client’s portfolio, every asset is well researched and purposefully added or subtracted over time. You are constantly thinking about how to add value to the portfolio, and how to get rid of the underperformers. You pick investments with the best dividends, and the ones that complement and diversify the portfolio. You do your due diligence up front, and perform regular ongoing reviews.
Now think about your clients. Which clients are currently offering you the highest dividends? Which ones provide the most value? Who are the clients that bring you the most satisfaction and you enjoy spending time with? Which clients have the most long-term potential to bring you additional assets or referrals? And finally what are you doing to help maximize that potential? How well are you optimizing your client portfolio?
Think about how you attract new clients. Do you have one tried and true marketing strategy that has worked for you in the past, or do you have several that create a diversified set of opportunities? How well are you doing your due diligence on your prospect list?
What criteria do you use to rank your A, B and C clients? Do you have a service model that helps turn B clients into A clients, and A clients into A+ clients?
Things change overtime, in any portfolio. The market environment, industry sectors and individual companies all go through ups and downs. The best investment managers stay on top of the environment and adjust investments to optimize returns. In the same way, if you invest time in managing your portfolio of clients you will enhance the outcomes.
If you need help putting together an optimal client management process for your practice, consider working with a coach who can help you strengthen your plan.
Helene Mazur, MBA, CFP®, PCC. Helene is an Executive Coach at ClientWise, and has been coaching financial advisors for the past 14 years.