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How to Create a Tier Structure

Are you confident that you are attracting the greatest level of profitability possible? If you feel there is room for improvement, I invite you to consider your client tier structure and something I call a “revenue pyramid.” I will cover how to create and think through a tier structure first, and in my next blog post I will cover how to use your tier structure to support your desired revenue by using your revenue pyramid.

The process of creating a tier structure will support you to strategically and consciously choose the tier (or tiers) of service that you would like to offer. For those of you who have felt overwhelmed by trying to deliver the same level of service to all of your clients regardless of the revenue their accounts generate, this process will shed some light on how you might differentiate your service model and make sure it supports you in growing your business while conserving your time.

Let’s start with your top tier clients.

First, write a complete list of all of the services that you offer your top tier clients. Include everything in your highest tier of service that your clients need to fulfill their goals. Also consider any extra items (services or extra client support) that you’d like to include for your top tier clients.

Here is an example of what your list of services for your top clients might look like:

  • A customized financial plan
  • Portfolio analysis and recommended changes to support goal fulfillment
  • Ongoing portfolio monitoring
  • Tax planning support
  • Income distribution
  • Estate planning input
  • Meetings with client’s other professional advisors – such as CPAs, estate planning attorneys, or tax attorneys
  • Quarterly reviews

Your top tier clients have more to manage so naturally they will need more of your time. However, you must set up your lower tiers so that you are delivering what they need to achieve their goals as well.

Now determine at what investment level your clients will need to be in order to be one of your top tier clients and benefit from all that you offer. For example, for many advisors their top tier clients have investable assets at the $1MM+ level; for others it is at $500k-1MM; for others $250k-$500k. (Typically the top tier doesn’t go below $100k.)

Now for the next step, decide how many other levels of service you want to offer your clients. Are you only going to accept top tier clients and offer one level of service? Or would you like to offer a second or third tier as well? Most of the financial services professionals that I work with have 2 or 3 tiers of service. With that in mind, let’s now create the second tier in your revenue pyramid.

What is the range of investment that you would like to use for your second tier of service? It might be at $500k, $250k, or $100k. To help you define your second tier of offerings, consider what you will remove from your top tier list of services. For example, the quarterly meetings offered for the first tier may be annual reviews only in the second.

Next, create your third tier of services. What is the range of investment tier for this group? Given that revenue level, what would make sense to remove or adjust from what you included for the second tier group?

For example, with the tax and financial advisory practice example, perhaps you remove the savings for tax preparation altogether. They can absolutely still have you prepare their taxes, however they would pay full price for the add-on in this tier. They can have you create a financial plan although again, they would pay full price. You can meet with their other service professionals as well, like tax or estate planning attorneys, however they would pay your hourly rate for you to attend these meetings. Your fee would not be automatically included in this tier’s services.

I recommend keeping all of your services on one list so that your clients can see everything that you offer; this is a great sales tool. For example, for those who have a tax and financial advisory practice, you might include tax services in your first tier. For your second tier clients, you could offer savings on the hourly rate that you might typically charge for the service. The third tier would pay your hourly rate for the service with no savings. Make sure to clarify the regular fee as well as the discounted fee so that clients are aware of the savings they receive at different levels of service.

Once your tier structure is complete the next step will be to use it to create your revenue pyramid, which I will cover in my next blog post.

If you have any questions or feel your financial services planning business could benefit from support from an expert business coach, reach out to me today: susan@susandanzig.com

Are You Inspired?

How do you feel about your financial planning business right now, in this moment?

Ask yourself: are you inspired?

If you are, bold goals consistently inspire you to take action, and you’re hitting milestones on your way to reaching those goals. You’re creating a momentum, and attracting your ideal prospects. You’re excited, and looking ahead at what’s next. Doesn’t that feel great?

Unfortunately, though, we can lose our sense of inspired action. If that has happened, you might be noticing that your business is not growing as you would like it to, or maybe you’re at a standstill and not sure how to move forward.

If you’re not in a state of inspired action, take a pulse on these points:

1 – Are you burned out? Have you been working hard and not giving yourself adequate breaks to nurture balance in your life? Burnout can negatively impact your inspiration around your goals, and affects many extremely driven professionals, for whom it can be hard to “turn off” and take time for ourselves. However it’s critical if you want your financial services business to be at it’s best, because your business suffers when you’re not at your best. Being at your best requires balance, because it keeps us feeling inspired, energetic, and driven to think creatively, act decisively, and continue working toward goals.

If you’ve been working very hard without breaks to rejuvenate and recharge, I invite you to look at your calendar right now (seriously, open it up right now) to see when you can block time to nurture yourself. This could be a day at the spa or a long weekend in Tahoe, or even a staycation where you’re doing something relaxing at home. Taking a fun family vacation can feel more like work than relaxing — make sure to carve out “me time” as well as family time. (And remember that “me time” means active relaxation, not just lying catatonic in front of the TV bingeing on Netflix!) Just knowing that you have something booked on the calendar to look forward to can lessen feelings of burnout.

2 – If you’re not burned out and have been doing a good job of taking care of yourself but feel that something is missing in your commitment to your goals, it’s time to take a step back. Have you set bold goals that you were initially motivated and inspired by? For example if you set goals in January and it’s now August and you haven’t taken significant action, it could be time to reevaluate how much you care to to see those specific goals unfold. What I have found is that if our goals don’t excite us, we won’t maintain intention to reach them. When there’s no fire burning, implementation and action are limited.

3 – If your goals still seem appropriate but you haven’t taken action, ask yourself what’s missing from your current reality that would get you into a state of inspired action?

  • Do you need to recommit and carve out time in your calendar to take the action that supports achieving your bold goals?

  • Is your bandwidth simply at its max? Maybe you need extra support to see your goals come to fruition. For example, if your goal was to get consistent blog posts up on your website, but you’ve found you don’t have time to write those posts, who might you delegate that task to? I invite you to look for items on your task list that you can delegate to free up your time.

  • Do you need accountability or help from a coach with creating a more focused plan of action? This is often the point at which my clients reach out for help, because staying committed and following through on bold goals can be challenging when you are your sole support structure to make things happen. I love helping people create and achieve their boldest goals, and if this is an area you’d like support with, I invite you to consider the expert Coaching Programs that I offer. With my 20 years of experience and industry expertise, I help my clients achieve their boldest goals. I work with clients one-on-one, in small groups, or can even set up a one-day intensive built exclusively for you. Reach out to me today at susan@susandanzig.com, and you’ll soon be on your way to achieving the results you dream of!

Uncertain how to generate new leads?

Oftentimes financial services professionals find themselves knowing they need to generate new leads but are uncertain about how to do it.

Do you feel confident in your ability to generate new leads? If so, are you 100% satisfied with the number of new prospects your financial services business is attracting?

Or do you feel like you don’t know how to generate new leads? Or that you don’t have the time to figure it out?

I have heard from many financial services professionals who don’t have a clear understanding of how to generate new prospects, and instead of actively attracting the ideal clients they want, simply hope they show up at their door. I have heard from others who are so busy running their financial services businesses and serving clients that they feel they don’t have the time to devote to generating new leads.

Or what’s worse, they ignore lead generation until their business suffers, and start acting out of panic, without a plan. Like using a defibrillator when someone has a heart attack – “Help! Revive my stalled business!” This is how many people market. They wait until the situation looks dire, and think “Oh no! I need clients! Help! Quick!” Then business picks up and they forget about marketing and neglect it again. It’s easy to fall into a cycle like this. But let me tell you, this is not the way to go if you want to build the most successful business possible.

Have you ever gotten back into an exercise routine that you had neglected? That loss of confidence and familiarity at the beginning is similar to how it can feel if you’ve neglected to create a marketing plan or if you haven’t looked at it for a while. You might even feel as though you forget what to do. But like muscles we neglect when we skip our gym routine, once you start again, you start to feel more comfortable taking consistent action.

If you’re uncomfortable with how you take action marketing, it can be worthwhile to explore why that is. Is there something you feel you should be doing that you are neglecting? Or doing something that doesn’t feel natural or authentic in how you are going about your marketing efforts? For example, are you a small business owner who isn’t well versed or comfortable in marketing and sales so it always feels like an uphill battle?

The first step is narrowing down and focusing on exactly who you want to attract as your ideal clients.

The next step is looking at how you currently generate your ideal clients and where you are attracting them from. Where are your best ideal clients coming from? From existing clients? Professional referral sources? CPAs or estate planning attorneys? Social media? Other strategic partners?

From there, look at what you can do to enhance that specific referral channel. If your best ideal clients are coming from client referrals, when was the last time you looked at your top client list to see if there are additional conversations you can have? Is there anyone you want to take out for breakfast or lunch to have a conversation with about asking for introductions? Or even without investing extra time and money are you letting people know about your vision for ideal clients and asking your best clients for referrals in client meetings?

I’d like to tell you a story to illustrate how powerful it can be both to take action to generate new leads, as well as how impactful it can be to drop the ball and see the negative effect it has on your business. I have a client whose ideal clients are retiring from a specific company in Southern California. He shared with me that previously he had always asked his top clients for introductions to other potential clients, and it was a very successful strategy. In fact, he would get 10-12 introductions per client that way. He felt like his business was going well, and unintentionally stopped asking his clients for introductions. And guess what? He stopped getting as many referrals! I wanted to share this story to help you understand how important it is to stay aware of where you are getting your best results with new leads, and continue to nurture the sources that bring the best results.

If you’re uncertain about how to generate new leads, or you’d like support with creating a plan to make this happen more effectively, I would love to speak with you. Email me at susan@susandanzig.com to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.

Choosing a Niche – Why it Matters

There’s a mistake I see many financial services professionals making in the name of attracting more business, and it holds their business back and keeps them playing small. What is that mistake? Not defining their target clients or choosing a niche.

I often hear financial services professionals shy away from choosing a specific niche because they’re afraid of limiting the playing field and they don’t want to miss out on potential opportunities, connections, or growth.

One major pitfall of not choosing a niche however is that it is much harder to stand out in a larger pond amongst your competitors. You have to fight against so many other professionals for a chance at that client’s business. All of your content will be generic, and you’ll be covering anything and everything that may or may not appeal to your ideal client. This is a huge waste of time, energy, and money. In terms of networking opportunities this comes down to how you will decide where to show up, and how to help others how to refer to you.

This is somewhat more challenging when it comes to marketing, however is tremendously useful for building your business and being successful. Having a specific marketing focus makes it easier for you to stand out, be remembered, and be attractive to your ideal client. For example, once you have chosen your niche you’ll be able to speak on topics that are laser focused and address concerns of a specific group while generating interest in your services and attracting your ideal clients.

If you’re networking with professional referral sources like estate planning attorneys and CPAs, how will you stand out if you’re serving “everyone”? A great way to stand out is by being expert in who you do serve and how you serve them. This also gives you more of an opportunity to learn about the specific needs of one specific group versus trying to address the needs of everyone.

For example, if your niche is doctors, the longer you work with them the more you learn about how to work with them. You learn more about their needs and how you can best support and meet them. As an advisor, you need to come up with a marketing focus and dig deep into the community of your chosen niche. Having that targeted niche enables you to focus your energy to learn most effectively what will work for those target clients, and how you’ll set them up to win.

Due diligence to evaluate and confirm that your chosen niche will support your goals is a crucial part of this process. How many people are in the target group in your area? If you’ve chosen a smaller community and you determine the numbers aren’t sufficient, you’ll need to reevaluate your niche. For instance, if you were going to focus on female physicians and the numbers weren’t sufficient, perhaps you’d like to expand your niche to be professional women instead, and create subcategories to serve different groups.

If you’re new to the profession or are wondering if you’ve chosen a specific enough niche for your business, think about the big picture. If you enjoy working with professional women, are your marketing efforts clearly focused on attracting professional women? Bottom line — to be the most successful, you need to define your targeted niche and learn how to serve that group to meet their needs and effectively market to them.

Another reason it’s so crucial to choose a niche is attracting clients and knowing if it makes sense to serve a prospect. Say your niche is engineers who make $175,000, and an engineer you work with refers a professional outside that industry, like a doctor, are you ready to evaluate if it make sense to serve them?

It’s ok if a potential client is outside of your niche as long as they satisfy your other criteria — do they have assets you want to manage? Is your service model going to work for them? Can you serve them the same way you serve other clients even though they have a different profession, or will you have to spend time and energy creating something entirely new to serve them?

By defining your niche, you’re also able to laser focus where you expend marketing dollars and your time and energy, as well as be able to better understand if a client outside your niche is a profitable client to serve. Is it a win-win?

If you are wondering how to narrow the focus and define your own niche (and make you more successful in the process), email me now susan@susandanzig.com

I look forward to speaking with you.

Branding Your Business Series: The Value of Creating an Impactful Slogan

Once you have gone through the steps of defining who your ideal client is, along with clarifying your own areas of expertise, a next critical step is coming up with a powerful slogan for your business. Here are three important aspects essential for creating a slogan that will raise visibility, increase credibility and consistently attract your ideal clients:

  1. Make sure your brand’s slogan has a focused marketing message that speaks directly to the needs of your target market.
  2. That the problem and solution are also at the heart of your focused message. It is critical that you communicate this effectively in order for your client to understand your value.
  3. Next, I invite you to take your target market and your area of expertise and create a slogan. The formula for a slogan is what you do + for whom.  A slogan is ideally no more than seven words (For example: Financial Planning for Independent Women or Retirement Planning for Executives).

How can you define and sell your business in a way that is unique and stands out in a potential client’s mind?  Make sure your slogan expresses exactly what you do and for whom.  A common mistake of financial service professionals is not having a memorable and concise marketing message. Having a slogan that is personalized for your business’s services is a critical piece to your overall branded system.

When you create a slogan for your business, it is essential that you have a tagline that clearly communicates your message to your ideal prospects. Having a clear slogan is valuable when educating your clients, prospects and center of influence about whom you serve and the services you specialize in providing. Whether meeting new clients in person, or with the aid of your marketing collateral, through your social media communications or other determined marketing channels, your businesses message needs to be consistent as well as solve the problems of your ideal client.

 

Branding Your Business Series: Communicating Your Area of Expertise

When branding your business it is essential to have clarity about your target market and your area of specialization. You want to maintain this focus as you go about creating your plan so that you are limiting your activity to where you will have the most opportunity to create results within your target market. Branding includes several elements that all require a clear message to those you most want to work with, about who you are and how you can best help them.

One client I worked with specialized in providing financial planning for women. After his father passed away, his mother had worked with a financial advisor and the result was a significant loss. Because of the impact of his mother’s financial loss on his own life, he is now focused on serving women and helping them make conservative decisions with regard to their overall financial picture. His expertise was well defined and communicated to the niche market of women he wanted to serve. I have other clients who specialize in serving women simply because they have good rapport and simply like working with women. I have had a client who specialized in being a financial advisor for attorneys. Because his father was an attorney, he grew up around the legal conversation and had a comfort level as well as an appreciation for attorneys as professionals.

Going through these simple steps listed below can assist you with strengthening your marketing focus and ultimately your brand:

  • Write down your target market and your area of expertise
  • Now look at what you enjoy doing/providing and make a list:

(For example, helping people to see how they can retire comfortably on their desired retirement date, helping them to create income from their investments, creating financial plans, monitoring portfolios, working with pension plans, whatever it is).

  • Next, make a list of those areas where you most enjoy serving your clients.
  • Now write a list of the problems that they want solved.

Take some time answering each of these questions thoroughly. You may surprise yourself!

If you want to create a powerful branded system for your business, you will need to have a focused target market, with a focused area of specialization. This requires alignment between you and the group that you serve. Given who you are, your experience, your personality and your values, the more aligned you are with your target market the more natural the attraction they will have for working with you.

 

Mind Set for Success

Welcome to my Blog! If this is your first time visiting me, I hope you find the information here uplifting and useful as a financial services professional. My goal with this blog is to offer material that is not only helpful for you to supercharge your practice, but will also assist you in having a new and different perspective within the financial services field.

As a certified business development Coach, part of what I do is assist people in viewing their practice in a whole new light. Sometimes this means breaking through old belief structures and adjusting strategies or sometimes it is just about adopting a new viewpoint on something that you may have looked at 100 times in the same old way. Either way, there are some essential questions I typically start out with that help when working with Mindset. (more…)

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