Top tips on communicating value to your clients:
- Make sure your value offering is a mix of tangibles and intangibles
- Communicate intangible value at a time when a client has felt it most
- State intangible value clearly in your engagement process
- Focus on how you make the client feel
It’s the connection and engagement that matters most to your clients, the bits around your service proposition that makes them feel understood, heard and valued.
In the advice industry, a connection translates to intangibles such as listening, trust, empathy, stewardship and understanding.
In other words, the skills advisers use all the time when communicating and interacting with their clients in managing a wealth creation and protection plan that suits their needs and lets them sleep soundly at night.
In a recent webinar hosted by Netwealth titled ‘Unlocking the value in your financial planning business’, Peloton Partners Principal Rob Jones said unfortunately there is a wide disconnect between what clients value and adviser’s ability to communicate how they satisfy this value.
So how do you put a value on the intangibles your client’s seek? How do you demonstrate they sit at the core of what you do and the tangibles such as investment options, product selection and tax advice extend from them.
According to Jones, the answer is quite easy. You state it.
“We think you should re-state your [customer] value as comprising of both intangible and tangible service elements,” he said. “Yes, returns are important. Yes, taxation management is important, but this [intangibles] is the real reason for it [customer value] but we don't often see it stated that way.”
Jones said while this tip may sound obvious, he is yet to see the intangibles clearly stated regularly by financial advice practices.
“I can guarantee you we have not seen them clearly stated in any engagement process that our [adviser] clients have with their clients.”
Over the past two years Peloton Partners has worked with more than 50 advice practices to map the end client relationship.
“I am amazed with the wealth of value Australian financial planning practices provide to their clients,” he said. “It is nothing short of exemplary the value add they provide.”
Netwealth Joint CEO Matt Heine agrees:
“Every day we see how much value financial planners are providing their clients, whether that is emotional support, acting as their steward through a difficult financial situation, or helping them adapt and change following a curve ball life has thrown them.”
He adds: “What is apparent to us is advisers have historically emphasised the tangible value they provide, when in reality, it’s how they make their client’s feel which is almost more important.”
Jones said a powerful way advisers can change this historical approach to value is to link intangibles to a client’s situation and experience.
“Commitment, listening, trust, empathy, confidence, stewardship, empowering - all of those nice words really are the connectors if you like, between your clients and what you do for them,” said Jones.
He added: “It is often us as advisers that don't value what we deliver as much as our clients do. Trust me, your clients value it greatly and often well beyond what you value it.”
Peloton Partners believe part of an adviser’s client value proposition should be a combination of tangible and intangible value.
“Intangible value is how you make clients feel. That's what they value the most. That's clear.”
How to determine a pricing model for your firm
“It's never easy and we at Peloton have put in place 40 different fee structures for our clients,” said Peloton Partners Principal Rob Jones.
The reason for this is all practices are different and their pricing structure needs to match the practice and how it works.
“No two firms are the same,” said Jones. “They're all different. Their approach is different. Their cost structures are different. Their target markets are different. Their clients are different.”
Peloton Partners has employed different pricing strategies for their client practices, but most of them have a fixed fee structure at their core. They have found such fee structures have lower client disruption and moderate complexity ratings attached. That is, there can be variations in a fixed fee structure, but they are more straight-forward to calculate.
The starting point for deciding on a pricing model for your firm is a deep analysis of your clients and your cost structures.
“Custom fitting a pricing model to your clients and your costs works very well,” said Jones. “It delivers a consistent profit per client and it can flex with the changing client and business needs.”