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Recruit A Range Of Experts To Step Up Service To Clients

January 20, 2018 | By | Reply More

The best advisors invest clients’ funds wisely. So it makes sense that they also know how to invest in people.

X As an advisor’s business takes off, assembling a strong team becomes a priority. Bringing aboard more advisors, an office manager and an administrative aide can prove pivotal to a firm’s survival.

But savvy advisors don’t stop there. They hire stars to fill roles that help differentiate their firm and enhance client service.

For example, some enterprising advisors recruit a full-time employee whose sole responsibility is supporting the firm’s most valuable clients. Acting as an in-house concierge, this individual focuses on making clients’ lives simpler and easier.

David Bach, co-founder of AE Wealth Management in Topeka, Kan., notes that many firms operate under the 80/20 rule, where 20% of clients generate 80% of revenue. He recommends that advisors who want to build their business identify their best clients and then elevate them into what he calls a “platinum care” program.

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“Hire somebody who’s specifically dedicated to your platinum clients,” said Bach, author of “Smart Couples Finish Rich” and other books. “You want somebody who can wine, dine and schmooze them and be there 24/7 for them.”

Investing in this position can pay off many times over, Bach argues. That’s because if you care for your most profitable clients in ways that exceed even their highest expectations, they will refer their friends to you.

Bach also urges advisors of growing firms to hire a chief marketing officer. An experienced marketer can devise strategies — from hosting public seminars to appearing on radio shows and podcasts — to help you reach your target demographic.

Make A Great Impression

For some advisors, their smartest hire isn’t just a marketing whiz. They look to recruit someone who can boost their firm’s overall image.

David Hays, president of Comprehensive Financial Consultants in Bloomington, Ind., developed a full-time job that he calls “director of first impressions.”

“The job is to make us look good in the eyes of clients, prospects and the community,” Hays said.

The role entails everything from managing the initial outreach to prospects to buying and hand-delivering gifts to top clients’ homes to representing the firm at Chamber of Commerce mixers. This employee also sends cards to clients after a major life event (such as the birth of a grandchild or death of a loved one) and “even dressed as Santa Claus for our Christmas party,” Hays adds with a laugh.

While acknowledging that the position is hard to quantify, Hays says the ideal director of first impressions possesses both marketing skills and charisma to charm the crowds at community events. The individual also needs to be detail-oriented and well-organized.

“You’re looking for people who are gregarious, likable and very social,” Hays said. “They don’t need a financial background, but they do need to be warm and caring, with a good working knowledge of your community.”

Finding such a gem may require some digging. To land great hires, contact local colleges and their alumni association — and ask your most trusted clients, vendors and business partners if they know any candidates.

Tax Expert

Once advisors build businesses that exceed $ 1 billion in assets under management, they may make other bold hiring moves. That’s especially true if they can recruit a technical expert who gives them a competitive advantage over other advisory firms.

Advisors with a heavy reliance on information systems might carve out a position for information-technology support. Others who seek to add advisors at a rapid rate may hire a trainer or quality-control specialist.

For Paul Pagnato, founder and chief executive of PagnatoKarp in Reston, Va., hiring a full-time tax expert two years ago has propelled his success.

“It’s rare for a wealth-management firm to provide a full tax practice,” he said. “The value-add to our clients is incredible.”

Recruiting a tax specialist was easy for Pagnato: He knew an accountant in the local Ernst & Young office was helping some of his clients  — and he figured she might want to join his firm.

“We have fewer clients so it was less stressful for her,” he said. “We also have a better benefits package.”

He lured her away with what he says was “slightly higher compensation” than she was earning. He raves about his investment in the position, noting that new clients are thrilled when they learn that his firm provides tax expertise at no additional charge.

“As technology digitizes our industry, you have to look for outside-the-box ways to add value for clients,” Pagnato said.


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