Being the father of a recently graduated 18-year-old, to say that we have a had a fair amount of mail, calls and emails from prospective colleges and branches of the military, who are actively recruiting my son to be a “selected” part of their school or organization, would be an understatement.
For me, the most notable was a packet he received from the Marines. On it, was their slogan/motto that read “The Few, The Proud, The Marines”.
Seeing that brought me back to the time when I was 18, recently graduated and considering my options of service or college.
I can remember that same messaging and the idea of it being an organization that was not looking for just any random candidate to be part of their group. They were looking for someone with a uniquely particular mind and skill set. They were looking for a candidate that wanted to be part of something bigger than themselves, one that would challenge and push him or her to the limits of their abilities.
Similarly, you can draw parallels between that messaging from the Marines and that of many successful advisor firms who are looking for a particular client or candidate. Within our firm, we refer to this as a “'Right Fit Client'” and for the network, a “'Right Fit Advisor'.
Simple, short, and most importantly, an effective description for us to use when we are having conversations with referrals sources, peers, and prospects.
It has given us the ability to say “No” and as a matter of process and discipline, it’s effectively given our firm the opportunity to strategically grow our practice and network to a more precise representation of what we feel are right fit opportunities in growth.
Understandably, for new advisors who are trying to start a practice and build a book, this may be easier said than done during the first few years in the business.
For those of you that have more years and bigger books, most probably a little easier as you have established revenue coming into your practice.
With that said, implementing this discipline into your practice sooner, rather than later, will prove to be easier and more advantageous in your efforts to selectively grow and set yourself apart from the “Red Ocean” of practitioners working in our business, giving you the ability to differentiate and strategically grow.
To start, consider the idea of creating an outlined profile of your ideal, right fit client for your practice. Having an outline will give you the ability to communicate, effectively and easily, the description of what a “right fit client” looks like to your referral sources and will more closely align you with type of clients you wish to work with in your practice. Have one will also validate and provide the “why” of your reasoning for any passes or declines to opportunities going forward. Importantly, it keeps the decision on a professional level, as opposed to what may be perceived as a “personal” decision.
Creating the outline and communicating it to your sources is a good first step. However, when it comes down to it, you can’t be scared to say no and turn certain referrals away. Some may perceive this as a negative activity. I would argue that it’s a positive practice for everyone involved. Doing so says a lot about who you are and how you run your business. It confirms to your referral sources, as well as the person that was referred to you, that you are willing to forgo personal gain to do what’s right for the people involved. It will also free up that person to find an advisor that is a better fit for them.
Alternatively, like a doctor referring a patient to a specialist, a best practice would be to refer that person to an advisor who is more able to effectively help with their unique wants and needs. Even though you may not be the best option for them, it shows that you are still willing to help by offering a better fit. In the long run, this will also help insulate you from clients that may eventually be difficult to work with because they are not a right fit to your practice.
Another point to consider; what is a good number of clients for you to manage? There’s a great amount of importance in your ability to dedicate the amount of time needed to focus your attention and efforts towards the activities that help you and the client grow.
Evaluating your plan for growth and deciding which clients are right for you will also keep you in control of the pace of your growth.
Keeping in mind that FOMO (fear of missing out) is not typically a good thing, you may have the urge expand too quickly and find yourself spread too thin. Conversely, if you expand too slowly, you may never get to your desired level of success. Evaluating your plan for growth and deciding which clients are right for you will keep you in control of the pace of your growth.
Growing selectively and at your wanted pace will also ensure that your existing and future clients will receive the greatest benefit of your expertise and attention in providing services that uniquely fulfill their needs. Thus, giving you the ability to “dial up” or “dial down” your pace as you go.
So, the message is simple but one always worth sharing and repeating. Passing on wrong fit opportunities is just as impactful as saying yes to good, right fit opportunities.
Carefully choose your clients, making sure they align with your vision for growth and success. The “right fit client” can be effectively counseled and managed with your unique skill set and area of expertise.
In the long run, being effective at saying no, will ultimately provide you with a happier career and more profitable business, bringing unlimited amounts of joy and success.
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