I recently did some work on new client engagement process with a program member, and it reminded me of one area of work I love most of all.
It also came up as a topic of conversation at the recent IFA Future Forum I spoke at.
Long before I started doing what I do now, I lived in Japan for two and a half years. There has been so much I’ve carried with me from my time there, but one thing that has always stuck with me is the Japanese view of how to improve things.
Perfection is when nothing more can be taken away.
The natural order of things is the evolution toward complexity. Our tech stack gets bigger. Our processes get more complicated. We fill out houses with more stuff, and then add storage space or move into an even bigger place to continue the process.
If anyone is looking for an explanation into how Marie Kondos’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up became such a global hit, there it is.
We crave simplicity, but more often create complexity.
It’s not that the practices I work with don’t have a good client engagement experience.
I don’t tend to work with “broken” businesses as much as ambitious ones, so often they’ll already have a way of engaging new clients that converts, demonstrates value, removes fee sensitivity, and feels good to deliver.
Maybe not perfect, but effective. Sometimes it just takes too long, or stalls at certain points, or requires a little too much manual intervention at certain points to be truly efficient.
My job isn’t to reinvent the wheel, but rather to ask a really important question.
What could we remove from the process and still get at least the same outcome at the end of it?
It’s like that scene from The Martian…. well, if you’ve seen it you’ll know what I mean. If not, I won’t spoil it for you.
Let me give you one example.
What I’ve found – particularly if you already know how to talk to clients about where they want their financial future to take them and you’ve got a specific way of engaging clients before you agree to meet – is it’s not only entirely possible to rock into an initial meeting with no preparation at all – no fact-finding, no pre-data gather – without using a single PowerPoint presentation, spreadsheet or piece of technology and convert clients across with a “yes’ on the day…
It’s often easier to do it.
The key lies in making the conversation about three things – where they wanna be, where they’re at now and what they may need to do to bridge the gap between the two – and being able to explain your role in building the bridge.
If you’ve found a way that works for you when it comes to engaging new clients, then changing things up isn’t usually the first priority on your To Do list.
However, even the best processes have room for improvement if the question isn’t
What could I improve?
What could I remove?
Could you chop two, three, four, or maybe even five hours’ worth of time from your process and still get the same result? That’s where you get the biggest efficiency games.
I hope this has been useful.
A reminder: if you really like this stuff, feel free to subscribe to our email list. And of course, don’t forget we publish the Finnovation podcast on a regular basis. You can find all episodes here | Spotify | iTunes.