Let me be specific: there are basically three types of prospects and one of those three you may never even meet in your office. And if we can better understand who these three prospects are, we can serve them better and reduce our own anxiety and costs, while increasing revenue. Let’s look at these, one at a time.
Three Prospect Types:
Do It Yourself (DIY)
They’re fiercely independent and wish to ‘go it alone’ in their financial journey. They’re willing to invest the time and energy into doing their own research and implementing their own planning strategies. They’ve never met a challenge they didn’t enjoy and planning for their financial independence is one that they relish.
For the financial ‘Do It Yourselfer’, consider offering a suite of education resources for them to learn from and implement on their own. Maybe, just maybe they’ll seek you out later if you provide them some value now.
They desire a comprehensive financial plan but prefer to manage some aspects of the plan on their own. Perhaps they’ve done quite a bit of planning work for themselves – and they enjoy doing it – but they’d like a fresh set of eyes to confirm or validate the path they’re on.
Consider offering a fee-only planning path for the validator who wishes to tap into your years of professional planning experience and wisdom, without the requirement to ‘hand it all over’. By offering a fee-only comprehensive financial planning service, you can earn fair fees for providing them what they need now and put yourself into a position where they’ll seek you out if and when they’re ready to fully engage with your firm for even more services like asset management. It’s a planning spectrum of sorts and they’re not yet on the full-service end of the spectrum.
These clients desire a comprehensive financial plan and they’d prefer to have all aspects of the plan, from plan design to asset selection and management to tax and estate planning, to be handled by a professional advisory team rather than go it alone. They recognize the value an advisory team can add, and they find great comfort in the knowledge that they’re working with a fiduciary who places their interests first; in other words, their incentives are aligned with your team’s.
For the financial ‘Delegator’ – your typical ‘A-client’ – offer a comprehensive financial planning service that begins with the same process built for the ‘Validator’ but continues through to full implementation by your team, including ongoing asset management, income planning, ongoing tax strategies, estate planning and much more.
What It Means
It’s very likely that without understanding and identifying these different client types, you’ve been frustrated by those who meet with you but don’t take action. It’s possible that those who balked at your AUM fees would have been very happy to pay you thousands of dollars outright to build them a plan, a plan that may have led to them moving assets to you later when they’re ready. By seeing all prospects as the same, however, we unknowingly assume that it was them or us that didn’t ‘get it’. Instead, it’s very possible that you can generate significantly higher revenue and dramatically increase your closing ratios by MEETING PROSPECTS WHERE THEY ARE and not forcing them into a model that doesn’t fit quite right at the moment.
It’s not just about assets under management and insurance sales any longer. It’s now a race to relevance for prospects, to see them for the unique people they are and expertly provide them solutions that are as unique as they are.
We can all agree that without a flow of qualified prospects, an advisor isn’t able to do all that much advising. We need prospects and we need them to become clients in order to build a healthy business that serves people in their financial planning needs. But I think it’s worth considering whether all prospects are created equal. Because if they’re not all the same, then should we consider treating them differently from one another? I’m not just talking about A, B, and C clients either. There’s something else going on that we really should pay attention to.