The heart of an advisory business is the ongoing service it provides to existing clients. Getting this right not only keeps clients for life, but ensures that you do it at a premium price. This has flow-on effects for your workload, family time and the final sale value of your business.
1. Lifetime value is the key concept to understand.
- Action: Calculate the lifetime value of one client.
- Choose one of your best clients and calculate their annual fee paid to you.
- Multiply their annual fee by the number of years they are likely to stay with you.
Mr and Mrs Client pays £10,000 pa x 32 years = £320,000. The lifetime value of this one single client.
If you do this exercise for all of your client base, you’ll understand why your business is so valuable. You’ll also understand how costly it is to lose just one of your best clients.
Ensuring your ongoing service is spot on is worth some time and energy. So, don’t leave your annual income and future business sale value to chance. Be great by design!
2. Charging a premium
There’s lots of talk about pricing across the profession right now, but I believe it mostly misses the mark. It doesn’t matter if you charge asset based fees, flat fees or any other type of fees for that matter because it’s never about the price, it’s always about the value.
The only things that matter are:
- the client receives great value and is happy
- your business is profitable delivering that service.
Lifetime client value is important; your annual pricing power literally creates masses of value for you and your business. I believe in an absolute focus on delivering client value, delivering a great client experience and charging a premium price for it. When the value and the price match, clients will stay deliriously happy and still pay your fees, and you get to sleep like a baby every single night.
However, you’ve got to deliver.
3. Balancing time and profitability
Any interaction between you and your clients has got to be a win-win situation; a win for the client first and foremost (otherwise you will lose clients and shed lifetime value) and a win for you (if you work too hard to deliver exceptional value your business, your team and your loved ones miss out).
Having time and space to deliver for clients that pay you a premium and love you for the amazing service is business heaven. It’s fun and it’s easy, once you bed it all down. It also generates more referral work, which makes your marketing a breeze.
4. Less is more
Less is definitely more for your clients.
Many firms I see often struggle by overcomplicating their offerings, manufacturing service levels based on misunderstood comments from the FCA or their own compliance department rather than being based on the real needs of their different client segments.
I also see firms trying to embrace the lifestyle financial planning model (which makes sense because of the amazing value it delivers to clients) but then getting lost by trying to produce cashflow models and written financial plans.
These are both big mistakes.
When you really understand what your clients want, delivering exceptional service and good advice is relatively straight forward. It just takes a great process and some planning!