It’s that time of year again – spring-cleaning. Before the warm weather arrives, it’s necessary to dump anything that’s weighing you down and replace them with better and more efficient practices and objects. Financial advisers are not exempt from this notion.
The key to success is to keep improving, innovating and taking the right steps to achieve change. When they start spring-cleaning, advisers should pay attention to certain areas of business. Resources, revenue-generating tasks, clients, technology, fees and succession plans should all be considered to generate efficient workflows and increase productivity for clients.
WHY ADVISERS SHOULD CLEAN UP THEIR PRACTICE
Spring-cleaning should give advisers a breath of fresh air. To increase productivity and workflow, advisers should search for non-revenue-generating tasks. It’s a great time for advisers to segment their clients to identify which are the most profitable and valuable. Advisers should have a plan to service all clients in a variable-cost way that makes the most sense for their practice. Additionally, since technology and new tools are constantly changing, it’s a great time for advisers to inventory their technology stack to familiarize themselves with what works for them and what does not.
Aside from their workflow, advisers should be getting a valuation assessment of their practice. Understanding what they can do to increase operating leverage and enterprise value and determining what their practice is worth is a critical step while spring-cleaning. Advisers should also be thinking about their fees, their value and whether they have a successful succession plan in place.
ORGANIZE BY SEGMENTING CLIENTS
Advisers should look to segment their clients into three tiers based upon average revenue per client. The most profitable third (the A clients), the middle third (B clients) represent the lion’s share of a firm’s revenue, and they effectively subsidize represent the lower third (C clients).
Advisers need to find an alternative to serving those unprofitable clients and should focus on spending their time with the A and B clients in addition to expanding. There are several options for finding a home for the C clients, and advisers should look to see which model works best for them and their clients. The key to successfully transitioning the servicing of C clients is to do so without increasing fixed costs in the practice.
REFLECTING ON WHAT’S WORKED … AND WHAT MAYBE HASN’T
There is no piece of the client experience that can’t be improved and streamlined. Over the last year, the pandemic has proven that client meetings are often better received and more effective if done over Zoom. The digital delivery of client reporting and the adoption of a digital portal or vault is becoming more and more accepted.
Advisers should constantly be questioning their current approach by trying new things and monitoring client feedback on the changes they make. While the use of net promoter scores or satisfaction surveys can be intimidating for advisers, they are essential for improving their practice.
Advisers also need to take a step back and evaluate whether their fees make sense for their practice and their clients and correlate to client segmentation. If advisers have C clients, the fee they should charge to switch an unprofitable client to a profitable one is likely prohibitive. However, advisers can also analyze the time spent on A and B clients to ensure that the fees charged for those clients fairly represent their effort and time expended. In most cases, advisers will find that their fees are easily justified, and in some cases, a rise in fees is warranted and accepted.
A large part of the client experience depends on whether advisers are using the technology that best fits their practice. Advisers need to identify what they do well and find technology solutions to automate what they should not spend time on. Workflow automation tools such as DocuSign, Sharefile, Docupace or Calendly are critical to streamlining manually intensive paperwork. Building workflows into your CRM can also be extremely helpful in automating tasks and follow-ups.
CLEANING TO ACHIEVE A MORE COST-EFFECTIVE WORKFLOW
Spring-cleaning has a lot of great benefits for advisers and their practice. If done properly, it should lead to a more cost-effective workflow. Advisers can take a step back and analyze all aspects of their practice. From segmenting their clients to looking at their technology and evaluating how much their practice is worth, advisers can establish what they are succeeding in exactly and what they need to improve. An effective spring-cleaning will allow their business to run smoother and more efficiently.
Matt Regan is president of Wealthcare.
As our second lead editor, Cindy Hamilton covers health, fitness and other wellness topics. She is also instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. Cindy received a BA and an MA from NYU.