by Sarah E. Dale and Krista S. Sheets
ROP=Return on People™
Here is the latest edition of our newsletter for financial professionals. Please feel free to share the content of this newsletter with anyone who can benefit from it. And, if there is anything that you would like for us to include in future newsletters, let us know! We base our newsletter content on your specific needs and what we hear from the field. To submit a topic that you’d like to see in upcoming newsletters, please email us at info@ParagonResources.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transitioning Your Practice from Reactive to Proactive
Those in the financial services industry can be easily distracted by a number of competing influences during the course of a normal, often chaotic day. Successful advisory teams accept that there will always be some element of the business that is reactive – it’s the nature of the industry. But, rather than rationalize this as an excuse, resourceful practices utilize a combination of strategies to take back control of their time. To be productive, advisory teams must work hard every day to avoid becoming hostages to the reactive in their businesses. The need to transition from being a reactive to a proactive business is such a vast topic that we will focus this newsletter and next month’s on the predominant practice management strategies that we believe that you should commit to.
- Attract and retain a high-performance team
The sole practitioner model in today’s industry promotes remaining in a reactive mode. It is impossible to deliver five-star service, stay on top of growing regulations, learn new products and solutions, AND grow your business. Embracing the team concept is step one in transitioning from reactive to proactive, especially for those with the wealth advisory or comprehensive business model.
- Know your own capabilities and talents so that you can surround yourself with others who are ‘experts’ in other aspects of the business.
- Ensure that you have clarity of role definition, specific responsibilities, and performance expectations.
- Foster an engaging work environment for each person by understanding their needs and areas of fulfillment.
- Resource: People Insights Program
Effective team communication is fundamental to maximizing productivity. Team meetings are an easy thing to ‘blow off’ each week, yet, when team communication falls apart, there is an increase in errors, stress, inefficiencies, and team frustrations. Ensure that your team communication plan incorporates tactical and strategic methods for all forms of communication. A robust contact management system and an activity priority system are key elements to staying fully informed. Consistent dedication to your team communication plan will support the transition from reactive to proactive.
- Assign ownership of team meetings and utilize an agenda for efficiency and effectiveness.
- Commit to one shared calendar system/contact management system.
- Execute off-site strategy sessions quarterly to elicit ideas for improvement and to stay informed of vital information.
- Foster candid, open communication at all times.
- Resource: Team Communication Toolkit
A well-segmented client base helps the entire team stay clear on the value of each relationship and the importance of servicing those clients. Most advisors go through a segmentation activity at some point during their career; few stay true to focusing on strategies to maintain the integrity of an organized client base, though.
- Utilize a mix of quantitative (financial) and qualitative (enjoyment) criteria when segmenting your client base.
- Aim for two or three segments to minimize confusion.
- Migrate relationships that no longer fit your practice and that can be better served by another professional.
- Focus on organic growth opportunities so that your clients move up within your segments.
- Ensure that new clients are identified with the appropriate segment as part of the onboarding checklist.
- Review your segmentation criteria annually.
- Resource: Know Service Book
(Step 1, Analyze, provides step-by-step instructions, tools, and ideas on how to analyze and organize your client base.)
By having a menu of service deliverables based on each client segment, the team knows exactly which client needs to receive which particular activity or benefit, as well as how frequently they should be contacted. A service menu drives proactivity; it helps eradicate time that is wasted on wondering when you last spoke to a certain client and it minimizes incoming calls to request meetings or information. You have a benchmark by which to measure and a system to ensure consistent delivery of the ideal client experience.
- Include client communication in your service deliverables – meetings, strategy calls, courtesy calls, etc.
- Include a client appreciation plan within your service menu – cards, gifts, events, etc.
- Include client education initiatives – seminars, newsletters, webinars, etc.
- Utilize a service commitment document outlining what clients can expect by working with you so that they never measure you solely by the numbers they see on their statements.
- Resource: Know Service Book
(Step 2, Allocate, provides step-by-step instructions, tools, and ideas on how to create your segmented service menu.)
By ensuring that all reoccurring activities are driven by a process, system, or checklist, team members find themselves driving productivity rather than randomly reacting and reinventing the wheel each day.
- Create a master list of activities and assign ownership.
- Review any current processes for clarity and efficiency.
- Document all Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in a shared folder.
- Regularly review.
- Resource: Our Business Performance Assessment measures the efficiency and effectiveness of your current practice, and provides a report and process on how to systematize your business utilizing our Client Relationship Lifecycle™ tool.
Because this topic impacts your levels of production and enjoyment in the business, we will continue with our suggestions in next month’s newsletter. Until then, be PROACTIVE!