A Blog for Today’s Top Financial Advisors

Build and Manage Your Network of Professionals—A KEY GROWTH STRATEGY – Episode 3

Key Takeaways:

  • You’ve got to address clients’ noninvestment concerns—but you don’t have to do it all yourself.
  • Build a team of outside experts that includes a private client lawyer, an accountant and an insurance specialist.
  • Each professional on your team must possess six key characteristics.

To attract, serve and retain demanding affluent clients today, you have to offer them expertise and solutions in areas ranging from estate planning and asset protection to charitable giving and perhaps even concierge medicine.

The problem: If you’re like most financial advisors, you’re really great at investment management—but you may not possess the requisite expertise in these and similar areas to deliver a really world-class service experience.

You could go back to graduate school and spend years becoming exceptional in these subjects. But I don’t recommend it!

Instead, do what elite financial advisors earning $1 million or more a year do: Build your own network of professionals to help you facilitate and deliver tremendous value beyond investments to your affluent clients.

Here’s how to get started.

The five key concerns

Before you can determine what your network of experts should look like, you need to understand the biggest concerns that today’s affluent investors and families are grappling with.

It’s not investments, which have become essentially commoditized. That doesn’t mean you can’t add more value on the investment side. But offering strong investment planning and solutions is simply “table stakes”—the bare minimum that gets you a seat at the table. Those offerings certainly don’t differentiate you anymore.

We find that the affluent today want your guidance in five main areas of their financial lives:

  1. Making smart decisions about their money
  2. Mitigating taxes
  3. Taking care of heirs
  4. Protecting assets from being unjustly taken
  5. Magnifying the power of charitable gifts (to the extent they are charitable)

The first item involves investment consulting, which you already deliver.

But the other four are areas where you almost certainly need help if you want to deliver solutions that go beyond the basic. And as you’re well aware, the affluent today want “beyond basic” solutions!

Indeed, many of the affluent today are seeking a family office-style experience from their financial professionals. Of course, devoted single-family offices are generally realistic only for families with net worth that exceeds $150 million.

But you can deliver a virtual office experience—using technology and outsourcing—that can give clients much of what they find appealing about a single-family office approach.

A virtual family office, like a traditional one, is usually focused on lifestyle concerns and advanced planning concerns, as seen in the chart below.

The core four experts

Clearly, delivering a virtual family office experience requires a lot of expertise.

The good news: You can address the bulk of your affluent clients’ concerns and needs by working regularly with just four core professionals:

  1. The wealth manager. That’s you, of course. Your job is to be the general manager of a network of professionals—coordinating them and ensuring they deliver the value your clients are seeking in noninvestment areas.
  2. The private client lawyer. This professional will address tax, estate planning and legal needs.
  3. The accountant. This expert typically has detailed, day-to-day knowledge of income taxes.
  4. The insurance specialist. This professional addresses the full range of insurance needs.

With that team in place, you can then bring in the other areas of expertise noted above—which usually are needed only sporadically. Often the four core professionals have relationships with specialists in those additional areas and can help you add them to the team as needed, again with you adding value as the coordinator and facilitator of these efforts.

The six qualities your experts must possess

When identifying the right professionals to work with, keep in mind that there are six qualities that every member of your professional network should bring to the table to help ensure that it runs smoothly and that your clients are well served.

  1. The right expertise. You must have absolutely the best expertise available for your niche market. Large-client cases do not come along every day, and only by having the right expertise do you maximize your chance of getting the business.
  2. Integrity and professionalism. Each member of the network must bring a high standard of personal and professional integrity to the table. I always think of this as the “mother test”—would you be proud to put this particular person in front of your mother to help her?
  3. Ability to work well together. There can’t be silos among your team members—they have to work well together and in concert with each other on behalf of your clients. That’s how huge value is created.
  4. Respect for the network model. Each must recognize and accept that you, as the wealth manager, have the primary relationship with the client and that they are members of your network. Additionally, members must never undercut the wealth manager—or each other—in front of the client.
  5. Ability to work well with clients. Your experts should have a good “bedside manner” with your clients and be excellent at follow-through and implementation of any agreed-upon solutions.
  6. Noncompetitive outlook. This is simple: Members of your network cannot compete with you.

Remember: Affluent clients don’t expect financial advisors to do everything themselves. But they do expect their advisors to be able to deliver solutions that go way beyond investments. Building and managing a team of other professionals is the elite advisor way to make that happen.

Take Action

Accelerate your pathway to elite advisor status— Schedule your complimentary Strategy Session – Best Year Ever Consultation call to get on the fast track to even more success.

Where you go—and how fast you get there—is up to you.

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