The 12 Steps to Success

The term 12-step process is all but synonymous with substance-abuse recovery, but it's also easily applied to other undesirable behavior: poor salesmanship. Our interviews with successful high-net-worth advisors has helped us to create a process of a dozen steps that, when properly applied, serve as a blueprint for acquiring and keeping wealthy clients. On their surface, each might seem overly simplistic,

The term “12-step process” is all but synonymous with substance-abuse recovery, but it's also easily applied to other undesirable behavior: poor salesmanship.

Our interviews with successful high-net-worth advisors has helped us to create a process of a dozen steps that, when properly applied, serve as a blueprint for acquiring and keeping wealthy clients. On their surface, each might seem overly simplistic, but each contains a nugget of truth that endures close scrutiny. Follow them, and you will attain success.

  1. Be Totally Committed: Selling your services as the “go-to” financial coordinator to the affluent is not a job that will reward you handsomely if you exert only a halfhearted effort. You must commit yourself and your career to becoming one with the affluent.

  2. Be as Advertised: It is important that you are consistent with every aspect of your firm's marketing. You are the product, so remember: The affluent are savvy consumers who don't like being misled.

  3. Be a Problem Solver: We don't live in a perfect world, and nobody is more acutely aware of this reality than your affluent clients and prospects. They are business owners, self-employed professionals and high-ranking executives who deal with Murphy's Law all the time. Solving an affluent client's problem has the greatest impact, according to our research, on client loyalty.

  4. Be a Servant: Problem solving will set the stage for referrals and introductions, but making a commitment to providing your version of Ritz-Carlton level service will allow you to fully capitalize on it. Excellent personalized service has the second strongest impact on loyalty.

  5. Be a Trusted Source of Information: The affluent are confident in their decision-making ability and diligently search for information to assist them in making major decisions. You must become a source of information they can trust. Beware, they are smart enough to know when information is lacking or misleading.

  6. Provide Value that Exceeds Price: There's an old saying that price is only a consideration in the absence of value. This saying speaks volumes for our sixth commandment. Price is important, but rather than sell price make certain you are able to quantify, communicate and demonstrate your value to every affluent client and prospect.

  7. Disclose All Costs: Affluent consumers are skeptical, especially with regards to confusing or hidden costs. And recent corporate malfeasance aside, few things are as confusing as the fees associated with financial products and services. Be crystal clear with all costs while understanding that having the lowest price is not a major impact factor.

  8. Stand by Everything: Your clients understand that you have little control over corporate policy, but they do expect you to stand by the products and services you offer. Which is why you should sell service and process rather than performance — follow-through on all promises.

  9. You Are the Firm: You are the product. Not your brochure, your firm's advertising campaign — you.

  10. Be Protective of Your Reputation: When it comes to reputation, everything counts, whether you're at your daughter's soccer game or dealing with a client problem. As a financial advisor who is “committed” to becoming one with the affluent, you are always “at work.”

  11. Become Internet Savvy: The affluent are one of the most frequent users of the Internet. Have an online presence, communicate clearly and carefully to clients and prospects, help them conduct online research and be up on the recent CAN-SPAM legislation.

  12. No Hassles: This might appear like another blinding glimpse of the obvious, and it is. An FA coach recently landed two new affluent clients and got four personal introductions because she let me force her to meet with them at their convenience. Despite the beauty of her office, which the FA wanted to showcase, her affluent prospects considered it a hassle to travel there.

Like any 12-step process, this one sometimes requires backtracking and revisiting of steps you might have already felt you mastered. “Working” the steps is an important part of making them an ongoing part of your business.

Writer's BIO: Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients.
oechsli.com

Hide comments

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish