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Reevaluating Tradition: How Sticking to the Old Ways, Despite Success, Might Spell Trouble

The story is a familiar one- a once thriving organization gradually stagnates, losing its innovative edge. Why does this scenario unfold, and how could it have been prevented? When a business fails to recognize the need for change and the necessity to revamp their strategies and behaviors, they could lose meaningful market share. In a world that’s always evolving, what used to work may not suffice anymore. It’s a daunting realization, but time and time again, the most successful players are those who keep their ears to the ground and embrace change.

“What underlies the malaise of so many large and successful organizations worldwide is that their theory of the business no longer works.

Peter F. Drucker, Harvard Business Review

As we approach the greatest wealth transfer in history, it can either be perceived as a threat or an opportunity. When examining this seismic shift in wealth- here are some things we do know.

1. Roughly $84 Trillion is set to change hands over the next two decades. (Cerulli 2021 Report)

2. 80% of these new asset holders will look for a different advisor. (Cerulli 2021 Report)

3. Women aged 50 and older will own roughly 75% of the nation’s wealth. (Margaret May Damen, Women, Wealth, and Giving)

4. By 2030, GenX will own 31% of the nation’s wealth. (Cerulli 2021 Report)

This shift in wealth underscores the need for organizations to take this transition seriously and adapt by formulating a new business theory. Those that do this effectively will emerge as the winners in this transformative phase.

Here are some key opportunities that lie ahead:

1. Multigenerational Relationships- Engaging with the heirs of the wealth holders will be critical in retaining these relationships. Recognize that most children prefer not to use their parents’ advisors and strategize on how to address this reality proactively.

2. Next Gen Advisors- Empowering the emerging leaders within your firm will help to create a succession plan.

3. Attracting Net New Clients- With 80% of assets potentially changing advisors, an opportunity arises to win these relationships in flux. However, new clients may seek a different experience compared to their benefactors.

4. Client Experience Innovation- Adapting your client experience is imperative in fast-changing times. Leveraging technology to deliver a more efficient experience and ensuring you are providing enough value-added services.

5. Aligning with the Right Partners- As your ideal client base evolves, ensure that you have the right strategic partnerships in place to cater to their needs.

When I meet with a potential client, there are core pillars around their sales and service process that I want to understand.

· Ideal Client Profiles

· Client Experience Roadmap

· Strategic Partners

· Rainmakers

· Technology

By addressing these core pillars, businesses can position themselves to thrive and adapt in an ever-changing business landscape. So, lets dive into these in more detail.

Ideal Clients- Why You Need to Define This

The act of defining your ideal client can seem trivial. If you’re just looking at it from a revenue perspective, it might indeed be a swift task. However, I encourage you to look beyond the surface.

An ideal client is defined as someone that is aligned with the business from a financial and a values-based aspect. These clients are more likely to close during the sales cycle, retain their business for a long time, buy new products and services, and provide referrals and testimonials.

So, how can you further refine your understanding of your best clients? Let’s look at specific areas to gain a deeper insight:

1. Demographics- Age, Gender, Income, Education, Location, Family Status

2. Psychographics- Interests, Values and Beliefs, Lifestyle, Personality Traits

3. Behavioral- Buying Behavior, Brand Loyalty, Online Behavior, and Purchasing Frequency

4. Goals and Aspirations- Short- and Long-Term Goals

5. Communication Styles

6. Budget and Financial Considerations

Getting highly specific in these areas can help you craft a strategic plan for finding and connecting with these ideal clients. This doesn’t mean you should exclude those who don’t fit neatly into these defined categories. Instead, it serves as a roadmap for developing strong relationships with your best clients.

By thoroughly understanding your ideal clients and catering to their needs, you can enhance your business strategies, tailor your marketing and messaging efforts, and foster lasting mutually beneficial relationships.

Client Experience- Marry process with customization.

When you examine the client experience, especially in the context of the shifting wealth landscape, you’ll discover unique opportunities to innovate and enhance your offerings. With changing demographics, one main question arises: Does your existing process remain effective as wealth transitions from one generation to another or from one gender to another? If the answer to this question is a resounding YES, it likely means you’ve done a good job at revisiting your client experience. If you are unsure, you might want to spend some time thinking about your current client experience and how you can become more confident with these questions.

One way to understand if you have created value with your clients is through providing a survey and receive a Net Promoter Score (NPS).

Let’s take a moment to clarify NPS:

In the NPS, customers are segmented into three groups based on their response the standard question, “How likely are you to recommend us?”

1. Promoters: These individuals are your most enthusiastic and loyal customers. They are brand ambassadors, bolster your reputation and drive referrals, fueling growth.

2. Detractors: These individuals are unlikely to recommend your company or product to others. They are less likely to remain clients and may even dissuade potential clients from engaging with you.

3. Passives: These individuals are not actively advocating for your brand, but they also aren’t likely to harm it with negative word of mouth. They could be on the cusp of becoming a promoter.

The NPS is not the only tool to gauge client engagement. This is just one example of a way to assess satisfaction and loyalty for your client base. It is important to continuously adapt and customize your processes to meet the needs of your evolving client base.

Let’s talk about the customization of a client experience. Often, I hear from my clients that they don’t want a prescribed client experience model because they want to avoid a one size fits all experience. And while I understand the sentiment, I feel like this is missing some key points. When you are building out your ideal client and creating a scope of work that will provide value, there should be a foundational client experience that everyone receives regardless of where they fall in your segmentation model. Providing a standardized and automated (let’s talk CRM!) foundational experience helps to free up time to focus on more comprehensive and customized deliverables, all the while ensuring that the foundational SOW promised is consistently delivered.

There are many ways to differentiate your unique client experience and marrying standardization with customization is a highly effective approach for maintaining a strong commitment to delivering on your promises.

Strategic Partners Can Build Your Business

Networking is a necessary aspect of building and growing your business. However, not all networking is created equal! In order to be effective at building relationships with community partners, you must ensure that you are spending the right time with the right people.

An ideal COI is aligned with the business from an ideal client profile and value based perspective. These relationships provide strategic partnerships that fuel revenue through referrals, team collaborations, co-sponsorship, and testimonials.

Spending time with the right COIs takes patience. They are relationships that build over time as the trust develops. We live in a highly competitive world and there are countless other advisors asking for the same referrals. So, how do you ensure you will be at the top of list when a client referral presents itself?

Here are some ideas to consider:

1. Have a give to get mentality. Consider the last time you provided a meaningful referral to your best strategic partners. This plays a part in building strong relationships as it must be a two-way street.

2. Facilitate Cosponsored Events. These high impact activities take the pressure off of providing warm introductions. Everyone brings a few of their best clients and it’s up to you to use that time to create new relationships.

3. Ensure you are a thought leader in your field. Providing education and new ideas to your strategic partners is a great way to be a resource to them and establish credibility.

4. You don’t need 100! Find a small core group of strategic partners that believe in your value proposition, consider you a friend, and want to help you be successful. You cannot

build these types of relationships with 100 people.

A great way to measure your productivity in networking is to track your relationships within a CRM. You might be doing a significant amount of networking but have no way to track success. I urge all my clients to create a COI reporting tool within their CRM to understand the annual benefit to each partnership.

Who are Your Rainmakers?

There are typically a core group of sales leaders within any business I work with. They bring in the lion’s share of the revenue and have the attributes of strong sales leaders. In some cases, this is the founders or the more seasoned professionals within the business. While this is a great model, there could be opportunity to pass the torch and diversify the business development responsibilities across the team.

When considering the greatest wealth transfer another common matter is brought to light. The Next Generation of Advisors in the industry. This is a huge opportunity for businesses to kill two birds with one stone.

1. Empower your emerging leaders within the organization to provide succession and increase your business development efforts.

2. Engage with the next generation of heirs within an existing client relationship to retain assets after a transition.

Let me break these down even further. We have an aging population of business owners. Over the next decade, more than a third of advisors (37 percent) are estimated to be retiring, according to a 2022 Cerulli Associates study. When we look at that percentage, there is a real need for succession planning within these organizations. A great way to provide succession is to engage with your Next Gen advisors and start preparing them to take on more comprehensive roles within the firm.

Additionally, as we look at the statistics regarding the percentage of households that will transfer out of the book due to the heirs wanting to work with different advisors. You could create some stickiness to those relationships by allowing your next gen advisors to engage with the children of the wealth holders.

Leverage Technology!

Technology can be your greatest tool if used appropriately. My first thought goes to the CRM tool. If you spend a lot of time building out your strategy, then make sure you spend the time inputting your activities to create meaningful data to look back at. Additionally, leverage your CRM to make your life easier through automation of workflows. The more we can free up our time to work on high impact activities, the better the revenue growth will be. Don’t have a crm that is just a glorified contact management tool.

I know that figuring out the right tech stack can be a daunting task especially in a world where you are inundated with options. I recommend revisiting your tech stack regularly and understanding what new technology is available. As the world evolves, so does the technology available. You want to be on the forefront of this as we continue to go further and further towards a digital world.

In Conclusion

These core pillars can help take your business to the next level and ensure that your theory of business remains relevant as the world changes. Taking a proactive approach to these strategies will place you ahead of the pack and will create long term success and growth.

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