Put your clients in the driver seat

In my last post, I asked whether your clients would choose you if they were running through their own checklist of the ideal advisor. Let me offer you an idea of how to guarantee that you would be the advisor selected: Have them tell you what kind of advisor to be.

Most advisors understand that to attract a specific kind of client, they need to offer services sought by that client. Virtually all advisors I have worked with have taken that idea, envisioned the type of client they wanted to attract, and designed a service mix and marketing materials they believed would be attractive to those clients. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Let me share with you the often fatal flaw in that approach: you don’t really know.

Virtually all advisors’ strategic and marketing plans are the product of the advisors imagination. They sit in a room and think things up. Of course, advisors have some understanding of client desires from working with them for years and years. The forward thinking ones have hired a firm to conduct a client survey. But in the end, you’re still just making it up.

Here’s a radical idea: have the clients design your practice. Have them tell you directly what the ideal practice would look like. When steering the direction of your practice, let client drive.

It’s not really as difficult or revolutionary as it sounds. Many advisors utilize some of the tools integral to reengineering your practice this way: surveys, focus groups, advisory boards. But what few advisors do, or have the fortitude to do, is turn the control over to the clients. Even among advisors who look to their clients for guidance on how to improve their practice, too many still dream up their own plan and then go to the clients and ask “so what you think of this?”

It is a rare advisor who will gather together the clients and prospects he wants most to attract and ask “tell me what the ideal advisor would look like; would offer. Tell me the experience you would most like to have as a client.”

The ones who do, however, are the outstanding client advisors. They are Client Driven. And they are the ones who meet and exceed their referral goals. They are the ones who don’t worry about where they will find new clients.

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