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5 Step Escalation Process

I’d like to share with you five step tips for getting clients to move more quickly through your engagement process, from first appointment through to delivery of advice, thereby adding velocity to your pipeline.

One of the things I often do with businesses who have issues with efficiency or cashflow is take a look at their pipeline.

Something that typically crops up is the lag between the first appointment and when the work is complete.

A little bit of stickiness, if you like.

It’s usually caused by one of two reasons:

  1. Issues getting advice turned around, which is often an internal efficiency, capacity or time management problem
  2. Clients not doing what you need them to.

We’ve all been there. You shoot through the Fact-find or some other request and…nothing.

You follow them up and follow them up but they just don’t get it back

Next thing you know six months have gone and you’re still trying to get the advice delivered.

The common issue is often using the same follow up. It’s all just one mode, a variation on…

“Hey, just a reminder. Can you get this back to us?”

And, let’s be honest, if it hasn’t worked the first time, the odds of it happening again rarely increase, right?

The answer to this is to escalate your follow up.

Generally, the way that we do works like this, across five stage.

Stage 1 is the first contact with a client is to let them know what’s required. This is the outline, laying out the action required as clearly and succinctly as possible. No War & Peace here.

Three days later if there is no response, it’s time to switch mode. It’s time to pull the accountability card.

“We’d love to get this back. When can we expect to see it? Have you set aside time to get it done? Keen to get moving on this so we can {achieve awesome result for you}”

Three days later if there’s still no answer it’s time to ramp it up again with a helping hand. This is where you offer to jump on a call or online meeting and get it done together.

You’ll notice here we’re still not trying to fill out the Factfind for the client or do the work. We’re allowing them the possibility of doing it and then jumping in with the offer.

There are two reasons for this.

  1. Making sure you’re not doing all of the hard work to get it done without the client being aware of it, and
  2. Giving the clients a chance to get involved. This is a ket part of ensuring they see the value (and check out Adam Smith’s Paradox of Value if you’d like to know why)

In the event that clients still aren’t getting back to you, it’s time to take it up from the level of the team to you, their adviser.

You get on a call and said “Hey the team has let me know they haven’t heard back from you. I just want to check that everything’s okay and we are still on track?”.

The final step is the Ultimatum.

I’m going to need to take the work we discussed out of our current workflow unless we can grab that info from you

This matters because if there is one thing humans are motivated to respond to, it’s the threat of taking something away.

You achieve this by suggesting that it might be time to halt the whole process. Maybe that means you need to start again. Maybe you invoice them for the work to date. Cancel Christmas, that kind of thing.

Then you find out how motivated the client really is.

End result is one of two things; pipeline unstuck, or you find out the real issue might just be earlier in the process, in your initial meeting.

There are many roles a great adviser has to play, but motivating clients to take action is a big one.

If you find clients not responding to requests for information, it’s important to understand this isn’t just about forgetfulness or being disorganised. It’s also about the level of importance they’re placing on your request doesn’t match the commitment you require to help them achieve a better financial future.

And a failure to address that simply means you can’t deliver the value you need to be the outcome you both want.

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