Unless you want to enhance your ideal client experience, don’t do feedback.
Your Challenge: How can you improve the meeting experience with your ideal clients? Unless you understand what they truly value from you, how will you ever know how to improve? It is a blind spot for most financial advisors. Reading and researching this will only get you to what you think is valuable. Unless you ask, you will never know.
Tangible or intangible value
We measure value differently. Is it tangible meaning $10,000 for planning and advice for all I receive is a great value. Or is it intangible, which is measured in words such as peace of mind or financial security. Intangible value is priceless, and unless you understand how people value your advice, how will you know if they value it?
Your Opportunity: Advisors who have a formal feedback process earn more than 10-50% more than advisors who don’t have a client feedback process. According to The FPA Financial Planning Association in the United States (Source USA FPA Research and Practice Institute study – Future of Practice Management -December 2013)
85% of advisors do not have a formal feedback process. Similar research by Business Health Australia (Source Business Health Pty Ltd. 2013 US Advisors Key Value Drivers USA* 85% of advisors do not have a formal feedback process. Are you kidding me? This leads me to two questions, why and why not?
The reason why not is because up until now it has not been an important process for advisors. The top 15% who do feedback earn 10-50% more than an advisor who does not have a formal feedback process. So why not have one?
Three ways you can build a feedback process for ideal clients
- Formal feedback process
- Client board of directors
Surveys can come in many forms and with online software programs that can help you create a regular feedback process. (check with compliance because of confidentiality and privacy rules first) There are practice management and coaching companies that may also have software or tools to help you create a process. Here are a few tips. First keep it simple and brief and you will get more responses. Second, while surveys sent back to you for feedback are helpful, anonymous surveys (surveys sent to a third party for data collection and confidentiality) allow your clients to be totally honest as their comments will not reflect back on them jeopardizing your relationship. Third, benchmark your client feedback against your peers to digest how your practice is doing in the marketplace. Collect client comments, no matter how small they are, their words will help you build a better practice.
What questions do you ask? What feedback are you looking for? How do you want to deliver the surveys, email, phone, mail or other? This is where you should consider hiring a firm to help you. Check with you company or practice management team or website provider to help you find options, or contact us for a comprehensive feedback solution.
Creating a formal feedback process
This process will help you improve your unique value proposition and implement key strategies to grow your business. To improve your unique value proposition, we first need you to talk to your top 10 clients and get solid feedback from them.
Select 5-10 client progress meetings in the next month with your ideal client win-win profile. If you want to start with clients you know well, and will give you good feedback, then select them first. Then, select clients, you would like to discuss for serious feedback. Ask five to ten clients for their feedback on your value and their experience. At the end of a progress meeting with these clients, ask them a question to get started. Questions such as, “I am building an updated unique value proposition and could use your help. Can I take five minutes to ask you four questions?”
There are 4 KEY questions to ask
- What are the 3 things that you value the most about our services? (Ask both husband and wife and write them down as women and men vary in what they truly value) Note this is a double conundrum question. Conundrum number one, your client’s may not know how to answer this because they have never looked at your business that way and conundrum number two is men and women will usually answer it completely differently.
- How important are these 3 things to your family’s financial future? Are they important, very important or critically important? Is there anything else that is critically important? (this question may open up other discussions about planning or critical issues in their lives such as troubled children’ health problems or other concerns in their subconscious)
- What is it worth to you? (Usually, they ask what do you mean, say the EXACT same question again, What is it worth to you?) You will be very surprised by the answers you get here. I will hold you in suspense because it is worth waiting for.
- In our progress meetings, what is one thing that we can improve on to make our time more valuable and a better experience?
What you are asking is, how can we improve our progress meetings, since clients sometimes do not see a lot of value in them for the fees they pay. Is it 50 minutes talking about hockey and 10 minutes of planning? How can we get better? How does this compare with your other professionals such as your accountant? Some responses you will receive will be the more or less category, such as more reports or less paper. There will be small items, but there will also be big issues that will help you propel your business more than anything else I say in this book. Doing this exercise with hundreds of advisors has helped practices more than any other idea because it is from a client’s perspective.
Then sit back and say, I value your comments, as we are rebuilding our value proposition and client experience to serve you better, we could use your help. How could we serve you better and improve the experience you have with our firm? What do you clearly value? How often do you want to see us? How can we make the progress meetings time more valuable and improve your experience? (Add in any question you feel important)
Now you have implemented the feedback process into your business. You have received feedback from 10 of your top clients and possibly additional prospects) and they have given you their level of confidence in the value you deliver. The bad news is it may not be 100% but that is the good news, they have told you where your potential blind spots are, and give you valuable feedback to improve your business. I think this is more value than the price of any business book, and then some. You are on your way to building a world-class practice based on feedback from your top clients and they value they receive. Now is a good time to write out 10 names and start building your world class practice and unique value proposition through feedback.
Client board of directors
I am always asked, how did you build your practice? What is the one process that stands above all others that helped you grow your business? It was creating a client board of directors, as I discussed in previous practice management posts, the best practice management idea you will ever read. It was feedback from ideal clients that helped me build my business. That is why I am so passionate about any form of feedback including feedback questions at progress review meetings ( which I did) and creating not one but several client boards for feedback ( which I did). In the end, I did all three methods of feedback because I let my clients direct me and help me grow my business (which yours are willing to do and will enjoy helping you in the process).
Can I ask for your help?
Try asking your ideal client this question at your next meeting. I need your help in enhancing the value we deliver to our best clients? Can you help me out? What will their answer be? You have helped them and their family become financially secure with your comprehensive planning, and are extremely grateful for your services that they are willing to help you out. Now that you know my secret to how I grew my business, you could shut your computer or smartphone down and never return and become the success that you desire through ideal client feedback.
One final question. Do you have a written client feedback system to see what your clients value the most about your services? Do you complete this annually and discuss with your top clients and staff?
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