How To Define Your Service Model

October 5, 2015

by Brooke Mease

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Many financial advisory firms are facing the same issue: how to develop a profitable service model. What I often see happen is advisors expanding their offerings to meet the needs of new clients, watering down their services and becoming an “all things to all people” firm. The problem with this approach is that too many offerings devalue your services. The increased number of services decreases efficiency, increases operating costs and makes it nearly impossible to create a consistent client experience among different advisors in your firm.

To break this cycle, take a step back from what you’re doing today and focus on building the firm you want to be.

In the past, many owner-advisors came at this issue from the wrong direction, trying to determine what services they wanted to offer and then hoping to find a client base that needed those services. What I’ve discovered through developing client-service models for many advisory firms is that you need to start by determining who you enjoy serving and then build out your service model based on the needs of those specific clients.

Step 1: Define your client profile

To start this process, define the client profiles of the types of people you want to serve (see Client Profiles Worksheet: Answering the Question “Whom Do I Serve?”). This clarifies whom you want to serve, which enables you to build a service model customized for those clients.

Step 2: Define your clients’ financial needs

Next, answer the following question: “What are the financial needs of my client profiles?” Write out a comprehensive list of all the financial services each of your client profiles will need in order for you to solve their particular challenges and meet their goals. This should be a comprehensive list, including those services that your firm may not be able or willing to offer (e.g., drafting estate planning documents). Our tool, the Client Service Model Worksheet, provides a comprehensive list of services to start with if you are struggling to compose this list.

Repeat the process for each of the client profiles you identified in step 1.

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How To Define Your Service Model