F2 Strategy released a 5-part Insight Series to support TD Ameritrade Institutional firms as they transition their technology to Schwab Advisor Services. The series will cover a range of areas they need to attend to during the conversion and best practices to optimize their businesses during this period of transition.
In the very near future, all the work you’ve done to prepare your firm, your clients, and your vendors for the conversion to Schwab Advisor Services will be done. By the end of Labor Day weekend your transition will be complete. So what comes next? Take a breath and then think about what you can do better at your wealth management firm with this new relationship and the new tools at your disposal. Continue the practice of thinking about your business strategically and identifying what you can do to move it forward. We recommend applying two key principles: know who you are and deliver quality contact touchpoints.
Apply the F2 Strategy Philosophy: Know Thyself, Know Thy Clients
While this transition probably had a relatively low impact on your clients in terms of changes to their experience with you, it does serve as a reminder that there are times in the lifecycle of your business to adjust and make changes. In our previous four articles, we describe using technology in new ways and thinking about processes, automation, and streamlining workflows. Beyond processes and streamlining, it’s essential to think about what constitutes happy and referable client relationships. Through all of our work with clients and research of their clients, we have found two truths that impact client relationships and they drive our philosophy “know thyself, know thy clients”:
1. Firms that know who they are and why clients are with them have a significant advantage.
Sell to those you’ve sold to. Remind your clients through service and words of why they are with you. Invest in increasingly digital and tech-led experiences that reinforce your differentiation and your marketability to wealthy individuals who need your specific services. This enables you to catch more fish from smaller ponds, which is an easier, less expensive, and more results-oriented approach.
If you don’t know why clients pick you, ask them. Fewer firms do this than they should. Use an annual or biennial structure to reach out to clients and find out: what they love, what they aren’t getting, and what other brand relationships they love and why. Through this powerful data, you can find themes in the things that you are doing that align with your clients value as well as some areas you need to work on.
2. Firms that engage in quality contact touchpoints have stronger, happier client relationships.
In the client listening research projects we undertake for our clients, we have found consistently that the factors that contribute to highest levels of referability are different than most advisors believe. Advisors believe that their predominant value to clients is market returns. That’s important, but clients say satisfaction is derived from quality contact touchpoints.
There is no statistical correlation between performance and market returns. Your top performing clients aren’t more likely to refer you than your underperforming clients. On the other hand, there is a statistical correlation between quality contact touchoints and higher net promoter scores and referability. The more often someone reaches out to a client, provides value, or engages with them leads to a direct increase in the client's satisfaction.
It’s an odd shift in the traditional advisor value proposition that can feel uncomfortable, but we see it over and over. In 2023, the highest quality contact touchpoints are phone calls, zoom meetings, in-person meetings, or conferences. Note, email does not make the list of high quality contacts; these are more cathartic experiences that count more.
In a post-Schwab-conversion world, think about your cadence of contacts with your clients and spend time reviewing your client engagement process. Use tools and technology as a mechanism to engage and gather questions from clients to curate meaningful conversations about once per month. Build this philosophy into your practice and leverage marketing and financial wellness technology, as well as video conferencing to build engagement.
Weather Market Volatility and Drive Business Growth
Quality touchpoints drive critical client experiences when things are good and especially when things are bad. Staying true to your firm’s differentiators and delivering that value to clients will help you weather potential storms and realize sustainable business growth. This Schwab and TDA Insight series gives you expert advice to navigate the conversion as well as take your business beyond it.
Review the entire series of articles:
Get in touch for support, conducting client research or engaging your clients with quality contact touchpoint.