Why settle for average?
Best Practice Advice & Sales & Marketing for Professional Services & Sales Tips

Why settle for average?

November 22, 2013

by Tony Vidler

We often ask ourselves how one professional can be so much more successful than any other, especially when they are working essentially in the same space and with broadly the same technical skill.

Recently at a conference I listened with great interest to Matt Oechsli explaining a number of attributes that separate the elite advisers from average advisers which had been uncovered during his research projects.  In no particular order of merit the following were notable differences.

Elite advisers understand their clients key expectations:

  • Listening and understanding their needs
  • Being continually trustworthy
  • Depth and breadth of industry information the adviser can provide
  • Being a problem solver
  • Timely and personal, not mechanical, communication
  • Overseeing the family’s financial affairs – not marketing products to them
  • Delivering high level personal service

The Elite Advisers also focus on the financial factors that their clients care most about, which are:

  • Meeting investment performance expectations
  • Protecting investments from downside risk
  • Making them fully aware of fees all the time
  • Helping create a financial plan and keeping it current
  • Using current technology for access and reporting
  • Coordinating and organizing their financial documents
  • Providing insurance solutions

The Elite Adviser Attributes:

  1. Their team works as a unit and practices effective delegation
  2. Everyone in the business has clear roles and responsibilities
  3. They deliver a consistent client experience
  4. They do not try to be the experts in everything, but bring in the right experts their clients need
  5. Achievement focussed, with high energy levels and high job satisfaction
  6. They focus on face-to-face communications wherever possible.  The telephone or email is a secondary preference.
  7. They are proactive in tough times – and raise the communication levels.
  8. They are totally focussed on what is best for the client

Compare this to the attributes of the average adviser:

  • It is all about me, the adviser.  “What is in it for me” is the dominant mindset
  • Minimal delegation, and adviser tries to be the “main man”
  • Blurry roles and responsibilities within the firm
  • Non cohesive and inconsistent client experiences
  • Adviser tries to do, and be, everything.
  • They project their own value based on market movements
  • There is a strong Buy and Sell approach, coupled with a “follow what’s hot” mindset
  • Opinionated, and with a narrower knowledge base
  • Tend to be sedentary, often on the phone or at the desk for bulk of the day
  • Status consciousness, with accompanying money focussed
  • High stress and angst, accompanying relatively low job satisfaction

As the two types of adviser are compared it becomes obvious quite quickly that the difference between the elite and the average advisers largely begins within the advisers own mind.  The attitude and approach they take to their clients would appear to be the primary point of separation to begin with.  When combined with some sound commercial and management skill to build a great support team that plays to individuals strengths, the gap begins to widen between the elite and the rest.  Add in constant communications and client service focused on the clients expectations and key issues and you have a winning business model.

It begs the question:  If that is all it takes to build, why would you settle for average?

(Matt is well worth following for more great tips and research-based information on elite practices.)

Matt Oechsli @MattOechsli


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Comments (3)

  • Thanks Tony , all great insights and run across the board in other businesses too. Agreed don’t settle for average. Thanks i enjoyed reading this especially the brings in the best experts for the clients needs line. Karin

    Karin Hanna
    • Thanks Karin. I would think that these differences are broadly applicable across pretty much any professionals services practice.

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    and detailed information youu present. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed material.
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