What’s truly important to the ongoing success and growth of your business? A lot of potential candidates for the category of “truly important” may have sprung to mind, but hopefully the trust and satisfaction of your clients and prospects made it to the top of the truly important heap in your mind. After all, without advisees, you cannot be a financial advisor. And, if you aren’t building trust and meeting your clients’ needs, while at the same time laying a foundation of trust to build upon with your prospects, you’ll soon find yourself without those to advise.
If you’ve lost sight of the above, whether due to information overload about the hottest trends or due simply to the general challenges of your everyday practice, it might be time to step back and take another look at how your tech tools can help you get back on track.
Centering Your Business
Centering in yoga refers to the beginning minutes of a class during which participants are guided to a place of focus and a quieting of the mind in order that they may proceed with intention. Now yoga may or may not be your thing, but that general principle of, in effect, pausing before each session in order that one might proceed with intention should certainly be relevant to the advisor desirous of projecting an image of stability to those with whom they come in contact. If you can begin to practice centering at the start of each business day, you’ll find the distractions less distracting and prioritization more straightforward.
If you’ve been in practice for any length of time, you’re already aware that you need certain tools to help keep you on track. And, in terms of the “truly important” items referred to above, a strong argument can certainly be made that CRM should stand at the center of your tech tools. Don’t yawn — CRM may not have the sex appeal or the buzz of “robos” or whatever trends next, but in terms of staying power, in terms of being centered on the tasks at hand, you’d be hard pressed to find another tech solution even remotely suited to stand in as a core solution for client and prospect management. The headlines may scream otherwise, the clickbait may make advertisers happy, but you, the centered advisor with core technologies in place, should never let the new all-the-rage blind you to either the indispensability or the potential of your existing tools. Even without the heat of current buzz, some technologies just remain transformative tools because they allow advisors and their staffs to consistently meet the needs of their clients and entice the interest of their prospects.
CRM: A Niche Discovery Tool
Much ink is spilled on the need for advisors to find a niche market in order to successfully differentiate themselves and grow their businesses. I wouldn’t place the abundance of stories you can find on this topic in the breathless headline category of our title, as finding a niche is not a flash in the pan formula, but rather an oft-repeated strategy for success in the advisory world. I bring this strategy up as but one example of how CRM can meet its primary function of helping you to manage your clients and prospects while also serving as a transformative tool.
In order to maintain your client relationships and build new relationships with prospects, you are constantly pitching your value proposition, i.e., you are repeatedly stating (and hopefully demonstrating) what sets apart your services from those of other advisors available to those with whom you currently have relationships. CRM should never be overlooked as an important tool in helping you to refine your value proposition(s). The reporting functionality available within Redtail CRM allows you to take a granular approach to all of your client data. You’ll find client and prospect commonality and difference, but, with a critical eye, you should be able to 1) discern many of the things that your existing relationships value and, 2) bursting with that insight, retool your value proposition(s) to market/communicate more effectively (a task you can also handle from within your CRM, in many cases).
Taking this even a little further, you can begin to see the transformative potential of CRM in terms of growing your client base in a desired direction. As you use the reporting tools available, you can also begin to get an idea of which of your clients bring the most value to your business in terms of AUM, referrals, strength of relationships, etc. And, if you segment those clients into groups, you can then dive deeper to see what their common thread might be, i.e., what niche they might be a part of. It’s at that point you can begin refining your value proposition based upon what has been successful in attracting and retaining those types of clients.
In the early days of your practice, it may be impractical to market toward a specific niche, but, once you are up-and-running, it just makes a lot of sense to try and attract more of the type of clients that have proven most valuable to your ongoing success. What you stand for as a firm and what you can provide your ideal clients that others cannot are at the center of your success in an external-facing way. Your CRM, assisting you with the determination and framing of your value proposition for that ideal client, is the ideal technology to stand at the center of your success internally.
Focus, Focus, Focus
We concentrated above on centering, core technology and niches, all of which fall under the general category of focus. And your focus on what is truly important, I hope, will be your takeaway from all of this. Do you have best practices for developing technology-enabled workflows and engagement strategies that deepen advisor-client/prospect relationships and trust? Have you examined your value proposition to see if it accurately reflects and differentiates your office, while at the same time addresses those things that your clients and prospects value? Have you begun giving any consideration to the particular niche you are interested in servicing long-term?
Catch your breath! Let the multitudes get caught up in every new direction the wind blows. You can dedicate time learning about and applying to your business those trends that have lasting value, but your primary concern should be staying centered, proceeding with intention and offering a consistent, guiding hand to your clients and prospects. This doesn’t mean you have to take away that morning (and afternoon, and evening) scroll through your Twitter stream — just do so with a sense of intention when you are working, rather than a sense of distraction. Don’t let a pause to consider the merit of everything that passes before you each day bring you to a standstill in terms of performing those actions that you know, without question, possess long-term demonstrable value for your business.