1. Know yourself
Every year I go through a design process in which I think about the past year and also plan the next 3-5 years taking into account my 10-year goals, but also with the idea of dividing my medium-term goals into actionable annual goals, quarterly and monthly goals. The next step: know what you’re good at and, more importantly, know what you’re not good at, and outsource it. Gone are the days when I was a “Swiss Army Knife” in my opinion. The only way to provide an exceptional advisory platform that your clients deserve is to employ professional specialists on all aspects of our clients’ financial needs. Do what you love to do, what you’re good at, and outsource the rest.
2. Understand customer behavior
You will go a long way by walking a mile in your client’s shoes. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you always know what your customers are thinking. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. What would you like to see from your advisor? How would you like to be greeted when you walk in the door to your office? Do you create unforgettable moments for your customers and do you use every opportunity to connect with them? Are you addressing your customer’s five senses? This may seem like an exaggeration to you, but that’s what people have been saying about the Apple Store and Disney World. You may not create a theme park experience, but like it or not, you create an experience for your customers in every interaction you have. So it’s time to start thinking about what you want this experience to be for your customers.
3. Put the process behind your talent
Gone are the days of the individual generalist consultant. Sure, I know there are still many individual teams of consultants out there, and they are probably still the majority. I don’t know exactly when, but these days are coming to an end and it will take talented team members to meet customers’ expectations in the future. But talent is not enough. You need to be more efficient in your processes to ensure that your talent is working effectively, efficiently, and consistently to create experiences for your customers. Imagine having a different user experience every time you use an Apple product … Apple wasn’t nearly the company they are today. The process ensures that your customers, regardless of whether they are dealing with you or one of your employees, have the same experience. That is company value.
4. Be a technology leader
Ideas are great. The execution is better. The only way to get the best possible customer experience is to use leading technology solutions. It doesn’t have to be expensive either, but it does take some preliminary research to ensure you’re using the best possible technology that you can afford. It all starts with your CRM system. It should be integrated with your other systems as much as possible, including email, bulk email, notes, account management, and more. We built our CRM on the Microsoft Dynamics platform as it enables integration with all other Microsoft tools. Your CRM should also be intuitive and be able to automate as many processes for you as possible, whether it’s your financial planning process to your “random acts of friendship” that makes all the difference.
5. Build a brand
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Your brand is your why in person. It’s your story and you should make sure people know, especially the people you want to work with. Your brand could just be your name, and that’s perfectly fine. It could be completely independent of your name; It could be something beyond you. It all depends on what you want to do and there is no right or wrong when it comes to what your brand can be. Just make sure it’s about what’s important to you, what’s important to your customers, and what experience you want them to have.