One of the biggest challenges in being a financial planner is helping clients to see and understand the breadth of work that you do for them.
Unfortunately, even today, many clients think that you simply invest their money. I believe that’s a function of our history as an emerging profession.
A Quick History of Financial Planning
The financial services industry used to sell life insurance and pensions.
Then it migrated to selling managed investments.
Some forward-thinking advisers recognised there was a lot more that could and should be done for a client to improve their financial planning outcomes and that all of it should be looked at holistically (for example, budgeting, tax planning, retirement planning, cashflow forecasting, protection, pensions, estate planning etc).
The final step to professionalism happened when we got conscious about connecting all of those technical aspects of the job with “what the money is really for” – the client’s life and how they want to live it.
When you deliver a comprehensive financial planning service the last thing you want is to be thought of as the insurance person, or the investment adviser.
So how do you overcome that?
It’s a packaging issue.
1. Service packages make the intangible tangible
One of the challenges in selling a service like financial planning is that it’s intangible. You can’t see it, touch it, feel it or really know what it’s going to be like until AFTER you’ve consumed it.
In a service-based business (like financial planning), your office, the quality of the paper you use, your website and your brochureware, become a proxy for the quality of your service.
So creating some service packages that reflect the quality and breadth of what you do is one important way to make the intangible more tangible.
2. Service packages help prospective clients see the whole offer
Creating service packages gives prospective clients the chance to ‘see’ what you do for them. I believe that in the absence of something tangible and visual that explains the totality of your service, clients only remember two things:
- You’re investing their money
- And it’s costing a lot to have that done
Everything else is not particularly visible to the client unless you make it so.
What else do you do for your clients?
Just things like…
- Regular meetings
- Keeping them informed
- Unlimited access to advice
- Monitoring progress toward their goals
- Working with their existing advisers
- Introducing them to other professionals
- Helping with broader family issues
- Wealth administration (removing the hassle)
- Sensible income management
- Estate planning
- Investment advice
- Pension planning
- Tax mitigation
- Updating them when the government moves the goalposts
- Explaining ‘noise’ in the media about financial issues
- Working out “how much is enough?”
- Care funding for elderly parents
- Education funding for children or grandchildren
- Securing, managing or eliminating debt
- Protecting the family (via insurance)
3. Service packages emphasise your value, not just your cost
When clients can see and understand how comprehensive your service is, they can appreciate the value and feel better about paying what is likely to be a premium price for your service.
That helps you maintain a higher price point and hold your profit margins, which is becoming more and more important with exponentially rising costs from the regulator.
Beware The Quick Fix
Sadly, you can’t “brochure-sell” a package of services. It’s not that simple.
It’s why the sales process for financial planning has to focus on three key areas in the early stages of building a relationship if you really want it to connect with prospective clients.
a.) Asking great questions at the first meeting
Great questions gently lead the client to see the real issue, which is not usually the one they came to see you about. They think they’ve got a ‘pension’ or ‘investment’ problem, but in skilled hands, they come to see that it’s really a “How much is enough?” or “Will my money last as long as I do?” problem.
b.) Showing the client what they’ll get from you
Basically, the broader package of services you’ll supply.
c.) Making the technical recommendations
Which allow the client to achieve high-quality lifestyle outcomes from their financial planning experience with you.
Who Do You Serve?
To get your service packages spot on you’ve got to know who you serve and what their major financial challenges are.
Here are some segments I’ve seen financial planning businesses focus on:
- Small business owners
- Corporate Executives
- Professionals (like accountants, solicitors, vets, surveyors, architects)
- Headmasters at independent schools
- Media and creative agencies
- Professional sportspeople
- Actors and musicians
Maybe you serve some other specific niches or segments.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What are the key problems or challenges for each segment that you choose to serve?
- Does your proposition resolve the issues that the clients in these specific segments are facing?
When you deliver outcomes that matter to your target clients, they will pay handsomely for access. It’s never about the price, it’s always about the value.
And for most great financial planners I know, the key challenge is not doing a good job, but being able to show the quality, depth and breadth of the job before the client has experienced your service.
Packaging your services well allows prospective clients to ‘get’ what you do, before you do it, which improves your conversion rates, fee levels and business profitability.
Why not spend some time packaging up your service more effectively?
Let me know how you go.
Can you ever have too much of a good thing? I think not. If you’re with me, then sign up below to receive this blog straight to your inbox every week. You’ll get tonnes of free advice to grow your Financial Planning business. You’ll thank yourself later.