How working from home can create opportunities to improve your business
by Tiffany MarkarianMs. Markarian is an award-winning marketing strategist, helping wealth advisors and financial professionals advance their business momentum since 1995. She is a frequent author for industry journals and has spoken at numerous industry conferences, including FPA, NAPFA, FSP, NAILBA, GAMA, NAIFA, and numerous regional broker/dealers. She is the Founder and Managing Director of Advantus Marketing, LLC and can be reached at (617) 312-0591 [email protected] or on Twitter @AdvantusMktg.
Being in a remote environment does not have to impair your ability to revitalize your business or growth strategy. In fact, working from home may be your ideal opportunity to do some behind the scenes work on your business. Below are the top five growth strategies you can execute in a remote environment to advance your business momentum.
1. Rightsizing Your Business
When we talk about rightsizing your business, we mean restructuring your business to gain greater capacity and operational efficiently. The goal is to assess the hours you and your team spend on servicing your different client tiers (A, B, C client households, as an example). You then want to assess your annual revenues per household and your expenditures to service and acquire clients.
There are usually two main focal points when it comes to rightsizing a business. First, you may have too many less-profitable clients that are causing a drain on your time or resources. Second, you may be spending too much time servicing your clients due to a lack of consistent workflows, lack of staff, or lack of higher quality prospects to make your efforts more profitable.
The goal is to bring your practice to an optimal size that allows you to maximize your capacity and revenue. If you suspect less-profitable clients are causing drains on your business, it may be necessary to restructure your service model for these clients, adjust your fees, or determine which clients no longer fit the practice you have today.
If you can restructure your business, this will free up capacity to work on other areas of growth and expansion.
2. Practice Valuation
The second strategy is understanding the factors that drive the current and future value of your business – what we refer to as practice equity. Practice equity is the ability for your business to have ongoing, sustainable revenue and capital. This is important not only for current operations, but it also gives you the opportunity to sell your business down the road when the time comes.
It may be time to have a proper practice valuation conducted to see where you stand and what strategies need to be implemented to increase your valuation.
3. Optimizing Your CRM Software
Most advisors use Client Relationship Management (CRM) software such as Salesforce, SmartOffice, Redtail, etc. to manage their client relationships and business activities. The key is recognizing that client management is more than just updating and managing a database of contacts. It is about fostering an elevated client experience.
Clients have had a lot of time to think during the pandemic, and they are scrutinizing who is bringing them value. The more you focus on elevating your client engagement, you will personalize and humanize your client experience – particularly in this virtual environment. It is about using your CRM as a proactive client cultivation and engagement system.
For example, is your current CRM a simple repository of client names, addresses, birthdays, account numbers, etc., or are you capturing each client’s interests and hobbies?
- Do you know if your clients love cooking, boating, golf, wine, etc.?
- What organizations do they belong to?
- Are they a veteran? A grandparent?
- What are their pets’ names? Wedding anniversary date? Business anniversary date?
You can use this information for client cultivation, client appreciation, and ongoing relationship management. You can send cards or gifts on special days – such as Teacher Appreciation Day or Nurse Appreciation Day.
Clients may not remember the newsletter you sent them last quarter or a letter on tax law changes, but they’ll never forget when you recognize them in unique ways. All of these things can be done remotely, and your clients will never expect them. It is about personalizing and humanizing your client experience.
4. Redefining Your Value
Redefining your value means articulating the value of your services in ways that connect with the language and emotions of your clients. This will affect everything from your website and social media to your first meeting with a prospect and your ongoing reviews with clients.
Too many financial advisors fall in love with their process. They talk about their performance, their planning model, their pricing, their process, platforms, professional background, the people on their team, etc. The problem is that it is all about you; it’s not about the client. This is not how you articulate value.
Will these topics come up in conversation? Absolutely. But don’t lead with them. Focus your messaging and value proposition on the outcomes and benefits you create for clients. Clients want to know how you can help them gain a better sense of security and control over their finances. The want financial stability and how to live life with less stress and worry in retirement – this is the value you help create.
Clients and prospects care more about outcomes than any sophisticated description of your process.
5. Activating a Niche Market
The fifth remote growth strategy is activating a niche market. If you implemented Strategy #1 – Rightsizing Your Business, you may have noticed a few commonalities in your client base as you assessed each household. Perhaps you noticed you have several architects or a few veterinarians.
If you would like to replicate these clients and make these industries your niche markets, you can conduct market research to identify the key organizations and centers of influence in these industries.
Let’s say you want to get a stronger foothold in working with veterinarians. The answer is not to ask your clients, “Who are other veterinarians I should speak with that would be interested in my services?” That’s not your client’s job.
Instead, tell your clients you have an interest in becoming a stronger resource for the veterinary community. Turn the tables and ask them for advice. Ask them:
- What would you suggest I do to become a stronger resource for veterinarians?
- Is there an association or professional network I should join?
- Is there a podcast or blog veterinarians follow?
- Are there publications I might contribute an educational article to?
- Who are the most influential members of the veterinary community here in Pittsburgh?
- What should I focus on to learn more about the challenges veterinarians face?
Activating a viable niche market can help you specialize your services, give you access to qualified prospects, and avenues to contribute content and expertise for that niche.
These five strategies can all be implemented in a remote environment. If you think differently about your business, you can remotely start to capture new growth and expansion opportunities. It’s about restructuring your business to create more capacity, articulating your value more distinctly, and elevating your client experience.