The Elements Ironstone Blog

Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


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Treat Your Clients Fairly, But Not Equally—It’s OK!

In Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™, Operational Effectiveness, we take a challenging look into creating a service matrix that serves as your reference on how you will serve each client fairly, but not necessarily equally.  Developing the proper client segmentation is vital in creating, growing and evolving your firm and then applying that segmentation to a service matrix.    To make a service matrix effective, you must determine the type of services you offer and client contact frequency to promote clear communication to clients and prospects.

Determining the best way to align client services within your matrix

A service matrix should be based upon the characteristics of your firm, needs and goals of your firm’s processes combined with the uniqueness of each client and prospect.  Your clients are not created equal in terms of their needs and desires.  Your job is to determine the specific needs of groups within your client database, use the levers in your control to grow revenue and provide first-class service and sales effort.

You owe each client your best effort – not every service

In our blog, “Understanding Purposeful Meaning In Your Client Service Matrix,” https://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/understanding-purposeful-meaning-in-your-client-service-matrix/ we outlined the principles inside a service matrix.

 
A client service matrix serves several purposes:
• Encourages clients and prospects to use your firm for all of their financial planning needs
• Clarifies what service levels each client can expect
• Aligns advisor time and resources
• Provides a way to thank your most loyal clients

A service matrix will allow your firm to deliver services to different client segments through the use of multiple channels and aide you in delivering outstanding service by defining what activities you will perform based on the profitability of each relationship.  Position your firm to use your service matrix as a central tool in servicing clients and to show differentiation from your competition.

Using your matrix as an external and internal tool for success

 A service matrix serves as an external and internal managerial tool.  Use your matrix internally to:

  • Determine if proper staffing is in place to provide desired results and services
  • Plan, develop and implement tactics for future growth
  • Schedule service items that will be provided to your clients/prospects
  • Generate reminders to all team members

Utilizing your matrix will ensure all services within the matrix are being provided and will allow you to support proactive client/prospect service and ensure you are delivering on the promises you made.

Employing a service matrix is a useful tool when you evaluate the strategic changes in your firm’s service operation.  By paying close attention to the challenges associated with each classification, overall firm performance will improve.

The end result, your firm will be more strategic, efficient and likely more profitable.

“In business, words are words, explanations are explanations, promises are promises,

 but only performance is reality.”   Harold Geneen

We are curious!!  Does your firm utilize a service matrix?  Tell us about it!

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

Coming up next, learn about the human element and hiring and onboarding!

Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020

• Connect with us:


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Getting To The Core Of Your Marketing Plan

With so many means to market your firm, it is easy to get off track by wanting to do it all.  Developing a marketing plan, reviewing it, and making changes are vital to the success of your firm.

Advisors have more marketing strategies to use and take advantage of than ever before, but lack of time and knowledge to hone in on every opportunity.  Hiring a marketing consultant, a marketing manager or outsourcing marketing will have a fundamental impact on the bottom line of your firm.

Always start with the end in mind by defining what you want to accomplish.  This declaration can be applied to almost everything you do in life and is most definitely applicable to your marketing plan.    Once you have determined your desired outcome, focus on the core of your marketing plan and what tactics you will use to reach your goals.

Today’s elite advisors know that introductions, strategic networking, referrals, and intimate client events typically produce the best results in bringing new business to a firm.  These marketing tactics should be at the core of your plan.   Structuring your marketing plan around these tactics and developing strategies to reach your goals will provide you with a solid foundation.    Decide how you will carry out each of the above core marketing tactics and include a process to define strategies for each.

  • Introductions– Ask your clients for introductions to their friends that can benefit from your services. If you haven’t started using social media in your firm, this is a great starting point.  Use LinkedIn and other social media channels to see who your existing clients know and who you would like to meet.
  • Strategic Networking– Develop a networking plan by writing a process that you will follow.  Research potential alliances to ensure that you are networking with the appropriate partners and continue to review and broaden your opportunities.
  • Referrals– Have a formal referral plan in place and focus on providing first class service to your clients that establishes trust and loyalty. By doing so, your clients will refer you to their family, friends and co-workers automatically.
  • Intimate Client Events– Plan several events throughout the year and encourage your clients to invite friends.  Keep the event fun and personal.

Build your marketing plan around your core elements.  From there, you can branch out into other marketing avenues to test the water or begin a pilot program.   Trial and error will allow you to perfect your plan, therefore it is imperative that you implement changes as often as needed.    Evaluate your existing plan and track the results to be certain that your focus is placed in the core marketing areas that will generate the best results.

Optimize your efforts within each avenue and lead your firm down the path of obtaining your goals.

Ironstone can assist you in developing core marketing tactics for your firm and the strategies to carry out and seize each opportunity.  We will collaborate with you to gain a comprehensive understanding of your goals and review or design a marketing plan that is tailored to your firm.

Contact Ironstone for more information and additional strategies that will assist you in starting and improving your Marketing Plan.  We want to hear from you!   Share your best marketing ideas with us!

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!
• Strategic Planning
• Business Development
• Operational Effectiveness
• The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series: Operational Effectiveness-Staff Meetings

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Connect with us:


Leave a comment

Learn How To Write A Prospecting Plan For Your Firm

To accomplish overall marketing goals, many advisor firms need to include a plan for prospecting that includes the strategies and tactics to reach their desired results.  In our blog, “Learn The Fundamentals Needed For Your Marketing Plan”   https://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/learn-the-fundamentals-needed-for-your-marketing-plan/    we reviewed critical steps to include in your plan, which are the same for your prospecting plan.

How do successful firms prospect?  Top financial advisors have one common denominator– a financial advisor marketing and follow-up strategy.   A rule of thumb to remember when prospecting is:

40% is preparation, 20% is presentation, and 40% is follow-up

Ironstone suggests implementing the following seven strategies in your Prospecting Plan

1. Provide a Personal Touch – Focus on the value and benefits to your prospects and clients.  Clients want attention and care.  Make use of public seminars to deliver solutions to clients through the benefits you can offer them.  Include hand written notes on mailings to add a personal touch that prospects will notice and appreciate.

2. Communicate Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) – Differentiate yourself from the competition.  Keep your name in front of prospects to retain and acquire new business.  Your newsletters are an easy way to provide information about your firm or explore the potential of getting published.

3. Choose a Niche Market – Identify the clients you want to serve, you can then find out everything you need to know to dominate that market.

4. Share Your Referrals with Reciprocal Referral Partners – One of the easiest methods for receiving highly qualified referrals is from reciprocal referral partners who serve the same niche market.

5. Maintain Consistent Frequency of Follow Up – It takes about 6 – 15 “touches” for someone to start working with you. Plan a strategy that will allow you this opportunity.   You might include phone calls, mailings, emails, and events as a part of your “touches” strategy and tactics plan.

6. Leverage Your Time – The most successful advisors automate and systematize as much of their financial advisor marketing strategy as possible. Social media and e-prospecting are useful tools to employ.

7. Increase your Retention & Relationship – It is critical that you include relationship building in your plan.  Networking is the best place to start.

Remember:

  • People buy from those they know and trust
  • Prospecting is not easy unless you focus on helping, not selling
  • People who trust you give referrals
  • Referrals take the burden of prospecting off the salesperson

Ironstone will help you implement a successful prospecting plan, identify gaps in your existing plan and collaborate with you developing a solution to achieve the results you are looking for.  We will work with you on creating detailed goals that go deeper than the surface and assist you in planning the strategies and tactics needed to reach your goals.

Contact us for assistance in starting and improving your prospecting plan.

We want to hear from you!    What strategies does your firm use for prospecting?  Share your best ideas here!  We always love hearing from you!

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series:  Operational Effectiveness-Service Matrix