The internal structure of your business will ultimately determine your success. Maintaining a sales and service model that is effective is a crucial part to your internal structure—but how do you establish a strong model that will help achieve success?
We chatted with the founder of Third Quarter Advisers, Anthony DeLeonardi to discuss how to create a successful sales and service model for your business.
LH: How would you define a productive sales and service model? How should a financial advisor go about changing their current model?
AD: First, thank you for asking the question that way – that is, to include “service” in the sales and service model. Service is at the core of any and all sales models. Whether its financial services, hospitality or consumer products, to name a few, we really are in the service business. It is my opinion, with the push for ROI, speed to market and fierce competition, the professional service provider will excel and “sell” more, if they focus on service over sales. We must recognize that ALL of our products are commodities. What sets you apart is your service. I’d simply define it like this: Am I knowledgeable? Am I likable? Am I trusted? The analogy is that of a medical doctor – do you have extraordinary knowledge of medicine, illness and treatments? AND, do you have a great bed-side manner. I believe both are critical, but your bed-side manner may be more important today. We must create likability (easier said than done), which if done well for a long period, will create trust. That’s what’s needed for the best outcomes. You can “sell” a lot with likability, you can change lives with trust. And you can create life-long, multi-generational customers when you serve them in a meaningful why, which will create trust.
LH: What are the three keys to a productive and successful sales and service model?
AD: 1. You must be technically proficient, that is, you better know your “products” better than your customer and your competitors do. 2. You must be a student of the market, not just the markets. That is, know what’s happening in the business, and in those products and services that compete with your business. For instance, its one thing to understand “beta”, it’s a wildly different thing to understand if your client/prospects is even thinking about “beta” or rather, overwhelmed with her _____ (fill in the blank with the latest challenge). 3. You must be a student of human nature. That is, do you understand what’s important to her, what makes her energized, fearful, etc.? Do you know what pressures he is under, why he makes certain choices?
LH: How would a financial advisor implement these three keys into their practice?
AD: There has to be a balance of educating yourself on products and markets vs. truly understanding your customer surveys, cultural and institutional needs, and personal life circumstances. Of course, stay in tune to the markets. But, we must understand what circumstances exists in our clients’ lives that detracts, and may cause issue with our services. What potential time and money challenges are causing our clients the greatest fear and concern? Think outside of investments to areas of legacy. Two key areas to develop this are by implementing multi-generation family conversations about wealth and legacy and serving female clients in a more meaningful, intentional way.
LH: From your personal findings, what are the biggest difficulties financial advisors experience when trying to adopt a successful sales and service model?
AD: Thinking their IQ, product vetting, market analysis and research and/or their years in the business matter most. They matter, but what matters more is the acceptance that so many other experienced advisers are smart and equipped with product and market information. This is akin to “jacks or better to open.” You must have that. The consistent top producers know the real needs of their best clients, not just the investment needs. It’s not about AUM, number of accounts or number of positions. It’s about do your best clients trust you and know that you care for them, not just their portfolio, but also other aspects of their life that concern and challenge them?
LH: How will following your three-pronged method change a financial advisors business? What changes will they see over time?
AD: More “holistic” conversations and partnerships. More engaging and fun tactics and learnings. More productive use of time, not a prisoner to the screen, but rather a resource able to invest more in your customers and community, without sacrificing resources. Additionally, this approach addresses the data-backed concern of a lack of community, both with our customers and with our team members. A healthier community drives better results. If we ignore the warning signs of communities in stress, we will regret the outcomes.
LH: Anything else to add?
AD: Data supports that many customers today, on both ends of the age spectrum, support a “different” definition of wealth, for different reasons, and desire a more meaningful experience. In my 2014 book, Face To Face Creating lifelong and multigenerational clients, we address this data and the new tactics to helping customers redefine wealth and legacy and how important it is to them. This is our opportunity in the wealth management business to add tremendous value in the lives of our customers by creating a holistic financial and legacy plan and becoming instrumental in their lives.
As the founder of Third Quarter Advisers, Tony DiLeonardi channels nearly 30 years of sales and managerial financial services experience to help inspire and guide wealth professionals through the challenges of running a dynamic wealth management practice. Tony speaks regularly at meetings across North America and strives to equip attendees with the skills and creative thinking needed for enhancing their overall businesses and personal lives. Tony is the author of Face to Face: Creating lifelong and multigenerational clients and is a co-author of The $14 Trillion Woman: Your Essential Guide for Engaging the Female Client.
His new book, a business parable, Legacy Letters Discovering the Three Principles to Health, Wealth and Wisdom will be released April 10, 2018.