Create a better business by finding your true connection to clients

In the last five years, I’ve created a business that gets more referrals, is more profitable, and where clients are happier because we have a community and a sense of connection.

It starts with the clarity of your message, and by explaining what you do in words that are different from other financial advisors. Some of these words come from a rediscovery process where you ask clients at the end of each meeting why they work with you.

What makes you different?

This rediscovery process started a couple of years ago, when I told my staff, “After every meeting, we’re going to ask a crazy question: ‘Mr. and Mrs. Client, why do you deal with us? Is there anything that makes us a little bit different or a little bit special?’ Just be quiet and let them answer the question. Then say goodbye, go into the next room, get one of those big, sticky A3 charts, and write out what they just said, in their own words, which is really, really important.”

Then I’d take it to the back-office team and say, “This is what so-and-so just said about us. Isn’t that great?” We’d all look at it. Then the next meeting would happen and the next meeting, and before long, the whole back office was covered in 20 sheets of paper stuck to the wall.

Seeing the pattern

One day, the penny dropped. We were looking at this wall with all these things people have said, and there were themes emerging. Why would we pay thousands of pounds to a marketing department to tell us what we should be saying to clients when the people who are paying our checks are actually telling us what they value? So, we completely reformed what we were doing.

If you follow that exercise, it will help you have the words and language for your website or your material that resonates with your target market. For us, it brought clarity and simplicity. By going through that exercise, it radically changed what we do. It took us back to the basics of what clients want and the challenges we help them overcome.

Showing the journey

When we got all these client feedback sheets, we realized we weren’t showing clients the whole journey. We were talking about what we did while the clients were here, but we weren’t showing what it looked like after they had purchased the product or they’d gone through our process.

We had to get out of our own way and show clients what life looked like after they put into action the steps outlined in our financial planning. By doing that, we could bring them on the journey and allow them to see our value as advisors.

To solve this, we began saying to clients, “We’re on a journey, and we want you to come on that journey with us. Isn’t that exciting? We’re going to be on this journey of discovery.”

Austyn Smith, of London, England, U.K., has been a TOT member since 2005. This was excerpted from his 2021 MDRT Annual Meeting presentation, “Beyond the money: Unique client engagement and deeper client relationships.”  [MDRT member exclusive]

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