The Brutal Truth Why Working Longer Hours Isn’t The Answer To Growing Your Financial Firm

Feeling overwhelmed there are not enough hours in the day?

You’re not alone.

When it comes to time management, more than half of financial advisers and financial planners feel out of control.

Only 13% of financial advisers felt in complete control of their time. Just 10% felt in complete control of their businesses.

That was a BIG challenge one of my clients faced a few months back.

With his current operation, he could ONLY take on 20 advice clients per year. The work was time intensive, especially due to the increased load on client communication and compliance.

He wanted to take on more clients but there weren’t enough hours in the day to sell and service.

He wanted to outsource part of the compliance work to junior staff but couldn’t afford to hire them.

As the result, his business got stuck at generating 100K+ per annum. Worse still, he was working 50 hours per week to keep the business afloat.

In essence, this became a time trap for him.

 

That was frustrating for him because he started a financial advice practice with the goal of helping clients gain a peace of mind.

But this had come at a cost…

His peace of mind.

So we sat down with him for a strategy session to map out how he could generate more profits while getting his time back.

Through applying the fundamentals below, we are increasing his projected revenue to $360K (200% increase from the original limit).

The reason?

He is able to work with his ideal clients who value his expertise and pay well.

He is freed up to help more clients, while he hires staff and leverage technology to take care of the back-end work.

Plus…

He can start to enjoy life outside of work. This means spending more time with his wife and planning more scuba diving trips with the confidence that his business is on the right track.

So today, I will be sharing with you the five fundamentals we went through to help him achieve this breakthrough.

(Note: If you own a larger financial firm, the same fundamentals can be applied too)

 

Working Harder Vs Working Smarter 

But first, we need to stop thinking in a linear manner.

Business owners tend to think “If I just work a few more hours, I can pack in more clients and make more revenue.”

Sure that might be true in the short-term.

But how long can you sustain it…

Before it impacts your health, work-life balance and overall happiness?

Even if you hire more staff, low profits wouldn’t solve the underlying problem.

The answer?

Adopt more effective models of execution BEFORE investing more time.

 

 

Ditch The ‘Dead End’ Business Model

Most firms have ‘dead end’ business models.

Even though they have structured tiered packages for clients, all clients get equal access to the adviser.

As the result, the adviser’s time becomes the main constraint when aiming to service more clients.

But remember – Clients buy advice, they buy your system and philosophy but they don’t buy the adviser.

The solution lies in flipping the typical advice model.

That’s where the “Value Ladder” comes in.

The “Value Ladder” is all about providing potential clients with a suite of offerings, giving them options to invest based on their needs.

Here’s an example of how it works

1. Workshops: An entry point for prospects deciding if working with an adviser is a good fit, so they prefer to ‘dip their toes’ by spending half a day in a group setting.

2. Coaching: Clients are part of group coaching calls where they seek out guidance and get held accountable on an on-going basis. There could be supported with “one-to-many” type of resources such as webinars and events.

3. Consulting: Clients are receive on-going “one-to-one” coaching sessions with their advisers if they prefer more bespoke attention and privacy. As this is the most time intensive, you are able to charge a premium.

For the “Value Ladder” to be effective, there needs to be clear boundaries and expectations. The adviser must communicate to the client what each party are responsible for.

With my clients, we go through a workshop focused on crafting the right offers.

This ensures we position the offerings in a manner where potential clients can see the value and this increases the uptake rate.

 

Refine Your Market Positioning

The next step is to attract the right type of clients – Not just in terms of profitability, but those that you ACTUALLY enjoy working with.

Remember that running service-based businesses require a fair amount of face-to-face meetings.

Therefore it is important you acquire clients whom you enjoy working with.

Most financial firms end up becoming a “jack of all trades”.

They target across all demographics – from young professionals to families to retirees.

After all, targeting a wider audience means more clients right?

Wrong.

To foster effective referral partnerships or launch marketing campaigns, you need a laser-targeted messaging.

Here’s a poor example:

“Established in 1986, we help businesses, professionals and families use innovative solutions to help them achieve their financial goals. Our clients stick around for the long haul before we truly care.”

Why though?

First off, this message is very generic. Businesses have vastly different needs compared to families.

By trying to cover both audiences, you end up losing both.

Next, you need a powerful differentiator (instead of a vanilla ‘feel good’ statement).

Since almost all financial firm boasts about their ‘superior customer service’, this statement makes prospects roll their eyes.

Lastly, it is important to note that people buy off emotional triggers, then rationalise with logical reasoning.

Therefore you need to be descriptive with the desires and fear of your target audience. By demonstrating you know them at a deep level, they know they can trust you.

But don’t just rely on guesswork.

With my clients, we do a deep dive research – gathering intelligence on what’s happening in your prospect’s world.

From there, we have a solid foundation on how to position them.

The maximises the likelihood that the message resonates, so we avoid launching campaigns take a whole of time and money but don’t work.

 

Automate Parts Of The Client Journey

If you’re manually handling the entire delivery process – do read this section carefully.

Some advisers cringe at the word “Automation”.

They feel like it de-humanises the client experience, resulting in dips in satisfaction scores and retention rates.

But what if the opposite was true?

For instance, we could use automation to provide a consistent client experience without you doing most of the heavy lifting?

Within the client journey, there are three key areas where automation would deliver the most impact.

 

#1 – Customer Onboarding

First impressions count.

After new clients commit to your program, the relationship is in a fragile state. You need to reassure them that they made the right choice.

That’s where an onboarding sequence comes in – prior to the kick-off meeting.

It welcomes them onboard while mapping out the guidelines and expectations (e.g. frequently asked questions, how to achieve quick wins).

This banishes the fear that you only care about them in order to close a sale and abandon them there after.

 

#2 – Financial Reporting

The rise of FinTech isn’t all doom and gloom.

You can use software such as MoneySoft to track your client’s spending habits and follow up with the necessary insights.

 

#3 – Client Feedback

These feedback requests can be triggered at various stages of the customer journey.

For instance, it could take place after each project milestone and on a quarterly basis.

You can implement the Net Promoter Score (NPS) before reaching out for testimonials.

By getting feedback, you start to identify blind spots and make improvements.

You also gain valuable insights into what type of challenges your ideal clients are facing. This allows you to refine your messaging and marketing campaigns over time.

This beats relying on gut feel to make decisions.

For these automation systems to work, triggers need to be activated at the right time and context.

If you need help getting this sorted, don’t hesitate to reach out to my team.

 

 

Delegate Admin & Compliance Tasks

With a scalable business model and more profitable clients, you generate funds to hire support staff to help take care of non-revenue generating activities.

For instance:

  • Scheduling client meeting
  • Compliance work
  • Sorting of client information

That will free you and other income producers to focus on servicing more clients.

 

 

Generate Qualified Leads

Let’s recap the steps so far…

1 – Create a business model that is scalable beyond you

2 – Refine market positioning to attract profitable clients who are a delight to work with

3 – Automate parts of the client journey for a consistent (and less time extensive) experience

4 – Delegate admin and compliance work to support staff so you can support more client.

 

All these are aimed at increasing the capacity of your firm.

But where are the clients going to come from?

Granted, here are some of the “traditional” channels:

  • Networking events
  • Word of mouth referrals
  • Event sponsorship
  • Publicity features

No doubt these are effective channels – proven and time-tested.

BUT…

What if you’re looking for a scalable and predictable stream of clients?

 

#1 – Facebook Targeting

Let’s face it – There are 16 million active Australians on Facebook.

You can reach your audience based on ‘Location’, ‘Age’, ‘Gender’.

Plus Interests such as ‘Barefoot Investor’, ‘Money Management’ e.t.c.

Hence…

It’s a powerful platform that sends you qualified enquiries – even while you sleep.

In order for this to be effective, you need the right message, targeting and offer.

Otherwise, you could potentially flush thousands of marketing dollars down the drain.

With my clients, we go through a 7-step process (including creation and optimisation) when launching a Facebook ads campaign.

This ensures that you pay lowest rate possible per enquiry, making it a highly profitable lead generation channel in the long run.

 

#2: Network Activation

Remember the cliche “Always ask your clients and partners for referrals”?

That usually results in a cringe-worthy experience – for both the client/partner and the adviser.

But why?

Most of the time, advisers don’t address the underlying question “How does this appeal to the interest of the other party?”

So asking for referrals only appeals to their own self-interest.

While the client or partner have to do the heavy lifting of finding people in their network to refer.

Plus if the person getting referred isn’t treated well (e.g. financial adviser comes across as too sales-y), these clients or partners end up tarnishing their reputation.

So what’s the alternative?

Instead of asking for referrals, you need to EARN them.

That means constantly adding value to your network.

For your own clients, ideas include organising a live webinar or social events where your clients can invite their contacts over.

For referral partners, that could mean conducting a presentation to their network. This adds value to their network while positioning you as the guest expert.

As the result, the relationship is less transactional and benefits everyone involved.

However, this is not just about blindly organise events.

These initiatives take up lots of time and resources, so it needs to be executed right.

With my clients, we focus on creating compelling ‘interest hooks’ so that we don’t just increase attendance rate but attract the right type of prospects who are likely to buy into their programs.

 

To Wrap It Up…

Growing your financial firm isn’t just about relying on brute force.

Working longer hours isn’t the answer.

 

To recap what we covered, you need to:

1 – Create a business model that is scalable beyond you

2 – Refine market positioning to attract profitable clients who are a delight to work with

3 – Automate parts of the client journey for a consistent (and less time extensive) experience

4 – Delegate admin and compliance work to support staff so you can support more client.

5 – Leverage online advertising, plus your clients’ and partners’ network to generate qualified leads

 

When you get these areas right – You stop losing hours in your day and run your business like the CEO you want to be.

If you need further help with any of the following areas, my team and I are happy to help.

Let’s start a conversation here >>

 

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