A financial planning practice must be able to articulate and demonstrate a planner’s value, story, service menu and deliverables—these remain the most fundamental elements of your business. After all, if you can’t convey and verbalize what you do, how will you attract people to your business and grow? And, if you don’t consistently deliver your value, how will you retain clients and sustain success? As we enter the fall, it is a good time to go back to the basics.
How well can you—and every team member regardless of role—answer the following fundamental questions?
Positioning: Who are You?
- What is your identity as a business? How does your community perceive who you are and what you do?
- Do you go beyond your title and firm name when someone asks you what you do for a living?
- Do you have a differentiating and intriguing story? Does each team member articulate a cohesive message?
Purpose: Why Do You Do What You Do?
- Why are you in this business?
- What is your vision? What is the team’s vision?
- Where are you leading the team? Where are you leading your clients?
Proposition: What Do You Offer and to Whom?
- Can you delineate the solutions, services and deliverables that you offer to each client segment?
- What problems do you solve and for whom?
- What is your reactive service strategy? What is included in your proactive service matrix?
- How do you define and delineate the ultimate client experience?
Price: How Much Do You Charge for Your Deliverables?
- Do you consistently execute on your pricing model or are there more exceptions than standards?
- How transparent are you with pricing? Do your clients understand what they are paying and what they are receiving for that fee?
Process: How Do You Do What You Do?
- What is your defined process for working with prospects and clients and do you consistently execute it?
- Do your prospects have clear expectations on what they will experience when working with your team?
- How efficient and systemized is your business?
Differential: What Makes You Different?
- Can each team member answer the question, “Why should I do business with you?”
We recommend that you schedule quarterly off-site team sessions to focus on the strategic side of your financial planning practice. You should reflect and identify successes and challenges, and then look ahead and plan for the future. The questions listed above are a starting point. Consider the strength of your value today and what changes may need to take place as you head into the future.
Sarah E. Dale and Krista S. Sheets are partners at Performance Insights, where they focus on helping financial professionals increase results through wiser practice management and people decisions.