What does it take to be high performing advisory business? What attributes do high perfomers have in common?

In my dealings with thousands of independent consultants and professional service firms around the globe, I’ve come to the conclusion there are four key attributes making these organisations successful and by successful, I mean:

 

  • Highly profitable
  • Continuously improving each year
  • High customer lifetime value
  • On purpose
  • Well leveraged
  • Achieving fantastic client outcomes

The four key components are:

  1. Clear advisory service offering

This sounds logical but too often advisors have very complicated models or a listing of services, making it hard for clients to understand the value they can expect to receive. The model you communicate to clients needs to:

  • Tell a compelling story, linking to the organisations’ unique journey, why and purpose
  • Not be overly complicated
  • Address the pressing needs of clients
  • Is in laymans’ terms

Does your advisory model tell a story? Is it too complex?

  1. Authentic marketing

Everybody understands the importance of authenticity and are trying to be authentic, but is your ‘authenticity authentic’ or forced? How do you cut through when selling your firm, services and yourself to a prospective client? A flashy website is not going to cut it if it positions you as someone you’re not.

Your mantra should be – ‘If you can’t deliver on what you say, don’t say you can deliver it.’ Unless you can successfully deliver on promises you won’t get external or even internal referrals. You must demonstrate capability.

The sweet spot of authenticity is achieved when three elements are aligned:

  • Customer fit – are you delivering the services target clients want from their advisor?
  • Brand – who you are, what you say and the quality of the services you offer.
  • Reputation – what do others say about the quality of your brand and services?

What do your clients say about you? Is this what you want people to say about you?

  1. Great capability, mindset and the ability to deliver

If you ‘re going to win business from quality target customers you have to be very good at what you do. Again a logical statement, but many advisors have stopped learning, stopped improving and instead are resting on education or material developed 20 years ago.  Many are taking short-cuts to being a great advisor by relying on software or scripts to do the heavy lifting for them. Capability is one of the strongest marketing tools to cut through the clutter and hype of the current market.

I’ve found that the highest performing advisors have the following in their DNA. They have strong:

  • Listening skills
  • Questioning and problem-solving skills
  • Strategy and implementation skills
  • Openness to change and new ideas
  • Business acumen
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Facilitation skills

Where are your gaps?

  1. Do you have the capacity to say ‘yes’ to more opportunities?

The Achilles heel of advisors is their capacity levels. You can have all the marketing and capability in the world but if you don’t have capacity then self-sabotaging behaviours will creep in and push away potential opportunities.

Building capacity is like feathering an accelerator on a car, you need to press the accelerator at times, then take the foot off, back fill capacity and then press the accelerator again. Having the accelerator flat to the floor all the time will often cause change fatigue, high customer turnover and instability.

When building capacity and driving change internally look to:

  • under promise and over deliver to customers and internal stakeholders
  • provide your team (if you have them) with the time to learn new skills as it takes 2-3 times as long as you think
  • be realistic in your targets and the time frame to achieve your goals (gives you time to back fill capacity)
  • make sure you and your team are held accountable for delivery of financial goals
  • be aware that there is never a perfect time to start – just do it!

Do you have enough capacity?

Get these four components working well in your advisory business and you will put yourself in a very strong position for success.

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