What defines an exceptional entrepreneur? It is the business builder who realizes that she is not only selling a product or service to clients, but is also working to deliver an exceptional client experience. However, your primary role inside the business can sometimes distract you from considering the whole of the client experience you offer. For example, one of our clients, he loved the face-to-face time he spent with prospective and existing clients. He wished he could do that all day. He was passionate about his expertise with tax law and establishing creative investment strategies. He believed he was one of the best in the business when it came to fully servicing a client’s financial needs. But he hated the service side of the business. He felt it kept him from doing what he did best. It kept him so busy that he wasn’t able to focus the necessary time on marketing and sales.
When entrepreneurs view marketing, sales, and service as separate, they are likely to suffer from an artificial “seasonality” in their business where sales suffer when the service work gets too burdensome.
How can we address the feeling of seasonality? First, we need to look at the concept of service. A lot of entrepreneurs see service as merely the fulfillment of their business, meaning that service is something different from sales and marketing. That is a problematic mindset and it is crucial to rethink this approach to service. Don’t think of service as separate from the rest of your business. Instead, expand your concept of service to include both sales and marketing. At The Covenant Group, we view service excellence and the client experience as internal marketing.
For example, an integrated approach to conducting a Periodic Review would address not just service issues – change of beneficiary or level of engagement – but also new business opportunities, such as estate planning needs, as well as obtaining introductions. Are there people your client can introduce to you? Are there people in your network who can help your client solve problems they might be facing? What can you do to add value to the relationship? Whenever you add value to the relationship, you will increase what we call Client Capital – the value that exists in your client relationships. High value relationships are not only more likely to stay with you, but also more likely to lead to other clients, who meet your ideal client profile.
Service excellence isn’t just doing the administrative or delivery side of your business, it is a way to expand your business by aligning your marketing, sales, and service initiatives. When you take this approach, you will find that your pipeline will fill with high quality prospects. Which, you will see, leads to more sales and more service opportunities. And that’s a good thing, because more service means more prospects and clients.
Start with segmenting your client list and identify top 20 relationships. Consider how you will be servicing each segment over the next 12 months. Analyze the service work that can be automated and delegated so that you will be able to spend more time servicing your top clients. This will significantly increase the number of high-quality prospects in an integrated approach to service excellence, enhancing the client experience you bring to your community of clients.