In my previous blog post, I set the structure for an adviser’s sales funnel with an objective to achieve efficiency since the adviser’s labor content increases with each successive stage.
While efficiency addresses productivity of applied resources, it doesn’t determine if the marketing and relationship content delivered at each stage connects with the prospect’s decision criteria. Yield measures the effectiveness of converting prospects to clients, and a firm’s marketing ROI increases dramatically with small increases in yield across the stages.
The Impact on Client Acquisition
Two marketing systems that start with the same number of leads will have dramatically different results at each stage by increasing yield.
A 51 percent increase in yield at each sales-funnel stage produces a 300 percent increase in the number of clients. For a fee-on-AUM model, there’s a huge profit payoff to increased yields as the firm’s one-time client acquisition costs are offset by ongoing revenues.
Steps to Increasing Yield
- Lead Generation. A lead from the firm’s marketing program has a higher order value because the prospect has taken the initiative in starting a relationship. Already, some level of inertia has been broken.
- Yield Issue: Match up the prospect’s stated needs to the benefits the firm is able to deliver.
- Tactical Consideration: After talking to leads, if there’s a frequent mismatch between the prospect’s needs and what the firm’s benefits deliver, the first place to look is the marketing content’s messaging (e.g. websites, emails, presentations, blogs, etc.)
A prospect conducts the first-level evaluation by reviewing digital content (even if through a referral), and if this content fails to define the firm’s services, and those most able to gain benefits, there will be mismatches and lower yields.
- Interest Qualified. During this stage, one of the firm’s advisers establishes the business relationship. The two core purposes are: 1) identifying the prospect’s top needs; and 2) making relationship connections.
- Yield Issue: The biggest issue in hiring any professional services practitioner is the fear that what is said during the sales process will fail to materialize after the hiring decision.
- Tactical Consideration: In every initial meeting, the adviser will hear various needs, anxieties and aspirations; these represent the content an adviser’s solution ultimately addresses. Take the prospect’s top need—say retirement planning—and schedule a follow-on meeting for a focused educational session of that need.
The prospect directly experiences the adviser’s approach and quality; it is akin to product sampling or test driving. There’s no more powerful tool for increasing yield than this type of customized educational outreach during the sales process.
- Business Qualified. It’s now time to make planning concepts concrete by producing a proposal showing how the adviser will meet the client’s need, anxiety and aspirational inventory.
- Yield Issue: Prior baggage with other advisers sets a risky edge to forming a new practitioner relationship.
- Tactical Consideration: Many prospects come into an evaluation having had a poor recent experience with another adviser. Before forcing a long-term commitment, give the prospect a choice to phase into the full-service package. For example, begin by implementing a retirement plan or a portfolio restructuring using a project-based fee.
Choice offers the prospect more control in right-sizing the package to his or her risk/anxiety level in beginning a new advisory relationship. Taking a smaller—and successful—step gives a more comfortable pathway to a fuller relationship.
- Solution Verified. The proposal will be presented.
- Yield Issue: Advice solutions often involve complex concepts, emotional issues, and anticipated results, and it’s difficult to digest it all in a single presentation meeting.
- Tactical Consideration: Structure the proposal with the needs/anxieties/aspirations inventory as the lead with the firm’s ROI benefits following. Then, send the proposal to the prospect a few days in advance to allow a paced initial review before the more formal meeting.
The final yield results in a prospect becoming a client is them saying, “Yes.”
- Yield Issue: Some people have difficulty making a final decision, particularly in light of previous adviser experiences.
- Tactical Consideration: If possible, the most powerful method for eliminating buyer’s remorse is to set up a meeting with an existing client to mentor the uncertain prospect in how the adviser delivers on the solution. The next best option is to schedule a follow-on meeting in the near term; giving a person space to get emotionally prepared for a new relationship.
Yield Determines Profitability
An adviser that increases yields in the sales process improves profitability by reducing waste and fruitless relationships, while also launching accelerated and long-term revenues through better-matched clients.
Wealth Planning Consulting Inc.
Princeton Junction, New Jersey