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Practice Makeover: Season 2

Episode 4: Three ways to improve clients’ experiences

Jun 29, 2014 @ 12:00 am

Runtime: 10:33

Adviser coach Matt Halloran works out a three-pronged approach to improving client segmentation, onboarding and service with makeover recipient Ken Podell.

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Industry experts and executives offer strategies, tips and ideas on how practices can improve their business.

Dan Klein

Dan Klein

Senior Consultant, TD Ameritrade Institutional Practice Management

Matt shared some great insights with Ken regarding areas of improvement for his business, including Ken's client onboarding model, service model, cross-selling opportunities, CRM management, prospect management, client segmentation and managing the overall client experience. These are all solid areas to focus on, but I question how realistic is it that Ken can tackle all of these things in a sustainable way?

One key area not discussed was the team that supports Ken in his business. I would be curious to know who his current team members are, and who Ken will specifically assign to run these areas. Ken will need some sort of a system to assign these tasks or he may potentially need to hire additional employees to manage these new areas of focus for him. Ken has been successful in the past and adjusting his focus to these new priorities may be challenging to balance with his current work load. Building on Ken's success with his top 100 clients may be a good starting point to implement his new client service model and may yield some low hanging fruit with cross-selling opportunities.

From a coaching perspective, I was looking to see how closely Ken's priorities were aligned with Matt's suggestions. Ken expressed his concerns about continuing these new activities "without involving a tremendous amount of time from me." That would lead me to question whether Ken is really willing to commit to the necessary follow-up in order to produce sustainable results within his business. I would be curious to know how much time Ken would be willing to commit and what his concerns would be regarding giving these items more time in the future. Ken clearly stated during the discussion that his number one goal is to be in front of his clients, not managing these strategies, so who's going to be responsible for doing all of this work?

I'm sure a lot of these details are being discussed during Matt and April's detailed work with Ken, and I am curious to see what solutions they come up with to assist Ken in supporting these new action steps. The way in which Matt will look for small steps to provide encouragement for Ken in his business is a good tactic for consultants, I am very interested to see where Matt looks to highlight these small victories as Ken implements these new strategies.

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Kelly LaPalio

Kelly LaPalio

Vice President of National Accounts, FocusPoint Solutions

At the beginning of this episode, Matt outlined the three initial steps his advisor coaching firm has put together for Ken: 1) Dig into his database in the most practical, hopefully least overwhelming manner.which ideally should lead him to be able to 2) Identify cross-selling opportunities with current clients, and 3) Establish a clear, repeatable, sustainable client onboarding process.

I think anyone who has watched this season would agree with all three of Matt's recommendations — including Ken. However, Ken's natural reaction to Matt's suggestion that he create an executable onboarding process appears to be a bit apprehensive (understandably so, given the current state of his practice, chiefly its lack of systemization). Such a process would involve giving clients specific details and setting expectations with them regarding follow up from Ken and his team. Over the years, Ken has built his client base from the ground floor — his clients very likely continue to work with him because of the excellent relationships he's established with them. It makes sense, then, that Ken would have qualms about making promises to these valued long-term clients that he may run the risk of not being able to keep.

While this season's discussions thus far with Matt and April have been somewhat in terms of specific action items, I'm sure that as Ken watches the plans they have put together for him start to come to life, his concerns about setting expectations with clients, only to under-deliver on them, will be greatly diminished. Once Ken starts to create and maintain sustainable systems within his business, he will feel comfortable being clear with clients about what they can and should expect from him across the board. He will work with Matt and April to define systems and client promises that involve a feasible and reasonable workload on his part.

The most challenging part about taking your business to the next level by implementing significant changes is the initial planning and execution. I have a feeling that six months to a year from now, Ken will look back on these first interviews about transforming his practice into a business and be amazed at the significant progress he's made, simply by putting some basic business procedures and a solid marketing plan in place.

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Ray Sclafani

Ray Sclafani

Founder and CEO of ClientWise LLC

Matt has some great suggestions for Ken. Starting with something as simple as analyzing his database could kick off some important next steps with regard to client segmentation and processes around client onboarding and client experience, but these aren't the immediate next steps I would take in this situation.

Ken has been very clear in his desire is to remain in front of clients, and this is where he should be. His phone calls and emails have been relationship-driven (rather than content-driven) for a reason, which has allowed him to maintain successful relationships with clients even without the processes that Matt's suggested he put in place. To have Ken back off from this strategy in favor of doing more marketing-based work would be damaging to his existing client relationships, and to his business. Ken needs to figure out how to scale up these efforts without detracting from what's currently working. He's managing enough as it is.

I would suggest that both Matt and Ken consider how these additional processes might require the time and attention of other potential team members. It's time tap into Ken's ability as a leader, a role that will allow him to use his relationship skills to manage team members, as well as connect with his clients. He is clearly at a point where he should be involving a team, as these early stages provide the ideal opportunity to begin developing common-purpose in working together toward a collective vision for his future business.

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Video Transcript

[MUSIC] Last time on Practice Makeover, April Rudin broke down her marketing plan for Ken Podel. Now we're excited to see coach Matt Halloran explain his strategy for Ken. This is one of my favorite parts, and at Top Advisor Coaching we do what we're about to do with Ken a lot. I'm ready and willing to go, and we'll see what Ken thinks. Ken, I'd like to introduce you to Matt Howard. Matt is an advisor coach for Michigan and I think he's got some great insights in plan for you. Now, Matt, just to bring you into the loop, Ken just heard April's plan and he's a little apprehensive but excited about all the things April had to do, so just to kind of bring it into the context, and I'm excited to hear what you've got to offer, too. Well, one of the things that I think is really important for my coaching company's philosophy is, I'm going to meet you where you're at. And then we see where we go from there, making small adjustments. I wanna figure out what your pulse is. See where you're at. Cuz I've got recommendations. But see where your pulse at and let's really figure out where you wanna go from here. So I've got three major recommendations that I would like to make. Number one, let's attack the database. Now, that can seem wildly overwhelming, but I think there's some little incremental things that we can do there that'll help. Find out the information that we need to in there, without it being wildly overwhelming. Number two, when we have that information let's find some good cross-selling opportunities. Because awhile ago, years ago, you really weren't the whole bag of tricks as a, you know, comprehensive financial planner, so we can bring different products and services and offerings to different groups of people. So there's number two. And then I want to really work on your on boarding process. Now understand that your on boarding process is then going to pivot into the overall client experience. So what do you think? First of all, I love the idea of attacking the database. Because it seems to me that should be something that is resolvable. The fact of the matter is right now it serves as a Rolodex and it keeps notes in terms of clients. But it's not doing anything for me with respect to marketing. Or in terms of client segmentation. I love also the idea of having unboarding process. I was actually going to ask you, unboarding process, with the respect to existing clients- I'd love to reintroduce people to me, and how would you, how would you use an unboarding process to do that? Well let's, let's go ahead and start there, and we can back up. So one of the most important things about an on boarding process is it gives you the opportunity to, to create your own culture within your own wealth management firm. Okay, so what do you want your client experience to be like? We want to do that with, with new clients right, when we're bringing new people on board but we use the same thing to build the same culture with existing clients. So we're gonna create two check lists. Okay? One for people who are really prospects, and the other who are, who are going to be existing clients, and you've had relationships for a really long time, and we're going to start building that relationship, building those expectations and building that culture. So, you know, client events, communication structures, any of those sorts of things, that's what in, what I refer to as the on boarding process. That's interesting because I think on boarding sounds more like developing stronger client service in general. Well, and it does. Right. I mean, and again, with expectations that's the best part. One of the most important things that we have to keep in mind is if you offer your client something, right? You can't take it away. So, whether that's events, weekly newsletters, anything like that. So, we have to be very calculating in what your comfort level is for frequency of communication, okay? And we're gonna set that up in the onboarding process. Okay. So, when you're meeting with prospects, you're gonna say, this is what it's like working with me here, and this is what we're going to do. See, the only issue that I have about that is, whatever we do has to be something that we can continue, that won't involve a tremendous amount of time from me. Okay. Because my goal is to be in front of my clients and working with clients, not to be managing a communications programs. Mm-hm. This ties back to what April was talking about. Right. I like the idea of some of the technology things that she was discussing. Because my sense is that a lot of that could be on automatic pilot, and once it's set, it has to be tweaked, you have to have somebody watching it, but overall it may be something that may have an ongoing. Well, talk to me a little bit right now about how much you communicate with your clients? And Matt, how much is optimal, as you kind of hear this? Right now, the clients that I work with most closely get frequent phone calls from me, and e-mails from me. But, it's not really content-driven, it's more relationship-driven. And it sounds like it's a little bit random, where not, you just said, it's gotta be something where it's, it's regular. Right, I mean, we wanna create a system and a checklist. Now, you talked about the, the, the. Kind of turnkey or using technology. You have some technology in place, correct? I have technology, it's not being used in that manner. So, this doesn't surprise you [CROSSTALK] I have advisers all over the country, and they look at their CRM, and they either look at it as man, this is the greatest thing in the world, or man I know I don't use it well enough. So let's, again, let's see where you're at. Let's look at your contact management system. There's gotta be little things that we can do there, right? To automate some of this stuff. You know, setting up a quarterly call so when you pull up your CRM it says you need to call Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Right? And we can do that in a contact management system and if that doesn't work for you, we can look at some other CRM's which again, its a big expenditure and kind of a nightmare with that importation and exportation. Or we can do it with something that I know you probably already use, cause I saw your phone, which is Outlook okay, so again, I wanna be able to say okay, can this is where you are now,. How do we really start getting you to want to make the changes? Because as a coach it's really important for you to feel success quickly. Cuz then we can gain momentum with that. Right. Okay? Right. Cuz that's interesting because I think it goes back to kind of. What, what the root problem here, which might be that database. So talk to me a little bit about what Ken can do to kind of get that database under control? So we, we want you to, segregate what your database has. People who are really just prospects. Okay? And then people who are clients, and then from the clients, what kind of clients are they? Okay? Are they protection product clients only? Are they comprehensive financial planning clients or are they investment clients? Then we need to look at that and we need to see who your top 50 to a 100 clients are. Then the next step is we're gonna look at who those people are and you're gonna say I love these people. Eh, I get this weird feeling in my stomach when I have to meet with these people. Man I have so much in common with these people. We're gonna really dive into that, because I think we can learn a lot about who wants to work with you and who you connect with through all the people you've connected with over the last almost 30 years. So I'm sure you've heard of the Pareto Principle, that, it happens at conferences all the time, that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your clients. And I think how I wanna work together with April on this, and obviously with you, is I wanna see if they match up. So when she goes through her messaging and discovery process with you to see who you really want to work with and who you should work with, let's see if the database supports that. How wonderful would that be, if, if you say, I'm there, right? And then, man, we can hit the ground really moving. But when we go through and figure out that top 100, you're gonna find the Pareto Principle is. Is, is, true. Is it work. Yeah. And then the next step would be the opportunity to cross sell both to that top 100 and beyond in the book. So and, and I have advisers all over the country who I believe leave a lot on the table. Not only from a responsibility standpoint. But also from a, an income generation standpoint. I wanna make sure, and I know you do, that you provide and offer the best services for your clients. That's why you do this, and it's very apparent that your heart is very into this, right? And so when we segment to those three people, insurance products only, full blown comprehensive, protection products. Well, if these people haven't seen the new protection products that might have come out that you are in favor out, then we have a great opportunity to talk to them about that. And then this side over here, which is just protection only, some of the new investment philosophies or things that have proven out since 08 09 that you really like, well then we can go and create some messaging or a plan to be able to go after and bring those products and services to those people. It's a great opportunity and I really want to stress, I think you have built a great business. Okay? I, I, I, I do. I think it can be even greater, but I don't want you to think that I'm coming in and want to break up. No, no, no. I, I'm not feeling that at all. Okay. I, I, I think basically what, what. I said earlier, is that my client base was built one client at a time. Mm-hm. And I have great relationships. I care a tremendous amount about my clientele. But it's been one relationship after the other. And, you know, you reach 28 years, you have a beautiful clientele. But then you sit there and you say, okay, what for the next 15 years? What do I wanna do? How do I wanna focus? Right. And that, this, this is intemporal to that process. I think we've got a great strategy here, a great plan, I'm looking forward to seeing how things get executed on it. Thanks so much. Great. Let's do it. This is a lot of information, but, I'm really looking forward to starting to take these component parts. Figuring out what's the timeline, how do we start moving forward, and which pieces do we use and in what order? And I think that I am very much energized by all the, all the feedback that I'm getting in terms of what sorts of things I can be doing. To better serve my people. I think the plan went over well. I think that he, he really looks at what we're going to offer and, and sees the benefits of some of the small steps that we can make in order to help him, you know, again shake off the dust a little bit and really see who he should be focusing. One most important thing I want every advisor to know is, once you start something, you can't take it away. So when you start something make sure you really think about what it is, and think about how you're going to execute it. Matt's plan sounds great. It sounds like he's got some real strategies to help Ken fix that over stuffed filing cabinet. I'm excited over the next three months how Ken, April and Matt work together to put that plan into action. [MUSIC]

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