Managing expectations is essential for every client, especially for the high-profile, larger cases.
The functionality of practice must change and adapt to meet the needs of prospective clients. We not only have to make ourselves readily available, but we must also position ourselves as a resource and expert within the financial industry, prepared to allay the concerns of the larger client. By thinking bigger, expanding your resources and preparing yourself, landing that first big case could be just within your grasp.
First look to current clients. Find out where they work, what positions they hold and what type of work they do. Be authentically interested, ask questions. This will be the key that leads you to your first – or next – big case.
Once you learn more about your existing clients’ workplaces, it will undoubtedly give you an entrée to an environment with myriad opportunities. For instance, if you’re communicating with a business owner, you may want to suggest working on a plan for their business succession. Or you may want to find out if they have had a long-term care experience with a family member, the effect it had on family members, what it cost, who cared for them.
This will lead to discussions about solutions available to the executive tier and other employees. You can now help them solve their financial problems. The single most important factor to keep in mind is to pivot from individual sales into a workplace or community organization environment.
Develop relationships with other professionals who work with high-net-worth individuals, businesses or business owners. Whether these professionals are benefit brokers, estate planning attorneys or certified public accountants, partnering with them certainly will help solve problems of an expanded clientele. Understand they are most concerned about any disruption to their current relationship that might result from introducing you as a new vendor/partner.
First, you must address the needs and expectations of all the departments that will be affected. Select your team carefully, research the needs of your large client and be prepared to answer their tough questions promptly and with confidence.
I once heard the definition of luck is “when opportunity and preparedness meet.” We cannot expect these big cases to fall into our laps. This process takes hard work and dedication. Staying actively involved in the financial community is imperative, as it will ensure you are up-to-date with the newest information in the marketplace. When it comes to legislative and tax implications surrounding the various products and strategies we work with, we must stay current in order to offer ourselves as experts.
Reach out to your community as a way to go about accomplishing this. I suggest offering to speak at industry association meetings or events, such as the Million Dollar Round Table. This will showcase your knowledge and skills in front of many individuals who may have the “big clients” who may need your specific area of expertise. Think of this speaking opportunity as a dress rehearsal for your big case.
Like a dog chasing after a car, what do you do when you catch your big case? Part of landing this new client is understanding the need to function at the highest professional level. You must have technology readily available at your fingertips and a team that you can count on to provide a superior level of service. The work you do with this new large account will undoubtedly set the stage for your future as a financial professional. Anticipate all that can go wrong and prevent problems from surfacing. You cannot be too careful about the details.
Managing expectations is key with any client, but big cases have dozens of people who are affected by the project. Whether this client is a nationally recognized benefit broker or a client who has 40,000 employees, you will be looking out for more than just an individual or a family. Not one person on your team for this high-profile client can be out of sync, as damage control is much more difficult at this level.
Taking the knowledge you have acquired through your years in this profession will guide you toward discovering the right solutions and the ability to provide exceptional service. Embrace your achievements by preparing ahead of time and getting behind the wheel of that car you were chasing. Once caught, you are the one in control.