Profiting From Control

Your clients need you but not in the way they think they do, or in the way you insist on telling them they do.

A prospective client stopped me in the middle of a conversation about his plans to integrate a newly acquired $750 million financial services business. “What I want is a spy, do you think you could play that role? My fear is the newly acquired executive team are feigning interest in their future within our firm beyond collecting their retention bonuses.”

When I responded by asking him why are you asking me, why now and why with the suggested role, he expressed surprise. The mere thought of “push back” from me stunned him (he was used to hiring acquiescent people) but it had the desired effect. We swiftly moved on from his random suggestion to examining our shared perspectives (business outcomes), our shared abilities to “control” the future (alternatives, risks and rewards) and his need for my help (ideal action).

Look at the transactional clients of advisory firms in the global financial services sectors. There are thousands of clients, shareholders and business partners daily wanting greater control in an increasingly ambiguous economy.

  1. A great many wealth managers, asset managers and brokers are so immersed in “selling” to the masses, they are disregarding their unique perspective to bring greater control to their ideal clients’ future (greater trust, higher margins, happier clients).
  2. A great many clients’ current perspectives are informed through an increasingly narrow prism (past experiences, market chatter and gut instinct). The “open-minded” clients (the more cerebral and secure) willingly let in and accept challenging points of view. The “close-minded” clients (often the more strident and insecure), put up the barricades and shut out views that deflect from their own viewpoint.
  3. I can make a powerful case in almost every sub-sector that a client’s actual “control” (or the lack of it) is directly correlated to their diversity of learning sources and their volition to apply the learning without fear of failure.

We have had the “sharing” economy, the future is about the “control” economy.

Transactional advisory firms have choices about what perspectives they share, when they do so, why and how to mutually-benefit from doing so (greater client control for a more profitable and rewarding client-adviser relationship).

If you do nothing else, ask yourself and your colleagues:

  1. What “unique” perspective (past experience, insight, contacts) can we bring to our ideal clients’ situation that will demonstrably enhance his or her immediate control (speed and quality of resolving a problem, making a decision, assembling a plan)?
  2. How do we best articulate it? (ideal manner, ideal time, ideal location, ideal conditions)
  3. How do we know if and when we are successful? (what should we listen out for or expect to see)
  4. Should we be minded to, how do we best transition from sharing the perspective to providing formal help? (ideal follow up response, ideal next step, ideal time/date/venue)

“CCAG”: As a catalyst for giving your clients greater “control”, you create greater client “confidence” to reinvest (repeat business), you create greater client “aptitude” to experiment (innovation) and you create greater probability of meeting or exceeding the firm’s “growth” expectations (increased profit, more referrals, stronger brand).

© James Berkeley 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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