Success in financial services requires strong interpersonal relationships and people skills. For many producers, time-efficient methods to strengthen external and internal relationships are essential to boost business growth on both sides. An adaptable approach that caters to an individual’s instinctive way of taking action and processing information creates the best possible environment for success. From tailored client communications to well-designed teams, action-oriented operational models helped streamline my practice.
There are several unique models that map and predict workflow and decision-making processes based on instinct and decision-making capacity. I recommend the Kolbe Conative Method or the Sally Hogshead Fascination Advantage, which are two popular frameworks. There are several available; research and identify one that resonates and suits your specific needs. You can reference and apply the archetypes to your practice and develop a custom strategy to refine sales funnels and organizational structure.
Tailor client communication strategies
For an effective client management and sales strategy, it’s important to understand who your clients are as people, and how they think and process information. Once you understand how they take action and what they look for in the decision-making process, you can construct a few tailored strategies that work for different types of clients.
Orientations will range from “Fact Finders,” who want to consume as much information as possible, to “Decision Makers,” who make a snap judgment based on a few key factors. Depending on where clients fall in the spectrum, they will want more or less information. Structure your conversation or hand-outs in a digestible way to shorten the deliberation phase. While the preferred length of information varies, bulleted lists and graphic illustrations are appreciated by all groups.
Everyone is unique when it comes to important financial matters. However, people with similar action orientations will respond well to information presented in a certain way. As you get to know clients on a more personal level, either during discovery or based on previous conversations, you’ll get a sense for their preferred style. You’ve likely already developed a unique rapport with clients at different income levels and stages, and already have an idea of what they prefer.
If not, there’s no need for clients to take an assessment. If you already have a relationship, pay attention to how they present information to you. Usually, they give details in the same way they’d like to receive them. Job title, position or industry are also good indicators; executives are typically snap decision makers, consultants will likely want more information, and so on. How people process information at work usually directly translates into their financial lives.
Build a cohesive team structure
Action orientations also play into team structures, group productivity and workflow. To optimize your practice’s organizational structure, consider conative testing during the hiring process. Based on the existing team, you’ll be able to filter candidates and select based on soft skills and traits that complement the group, which might otherwise be difficult to identify.
Our team is small and close-knit. When I bring on a new team member, I am able to literally grade each candidate based on how they take action and how that fits who they will report to through the Kolbe Conative Method “Right-Fit” assessment. In one instance, we narrowed down the final candidates to three options based on interviews and references. I was shocked that a favorite interviewee’s score wasn’t a strong fit, and their action orientations were a weak organizational fit. The applicant whose results scored well compared to our needs was a perfect fit and worked well on the team for many years. This test saved my practice and job candidate a world of frustration and pain. It’s helped us make more informed decisions and provide a big picture understanding of the team and how members take action and process information, beyond what job history and references are able to provide at the outset.
These strategies have had a lasting impact on the way I operate my practice. The initial investment of time to learn the Kolbe Conative Method and fees to assess candidates’ organizational fit is reflected in my bottom line. Not only are clients more satisfied, we’re able to work smarter and increase business. The office runs a tight organization and employees are engaged, as they feel a strong connection to the group. There are less turnover and stress within the reduced overhead costs.