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Stephanie Bogan: How financial advisors can scale their business

Advisors build wealth for clients -- but how can they build "relationship alpha" ?

Even the most skilled and knowledgeable financial advisors often find themselves faced with the challenge of scaling their business and expanding their reach.

I caught up with Stephanie Bogan, founder of Limitless Advisor Coaching, and we discussed the strategies and insights that can empower financial advisors to help unlock the untapped potential for growth.

One critique she has about the traditional approach to client meetings: "We're treating it like an event, not like a process." 

Click on the video below to watch the full interview. 


I think advisors struggle to scale their practice because it really requires them to systematize their 'special' – to really be thoughtful about the client experience from wingtip to wingtip.

What we call inception and inquiry; from the first moment that a potential client interacts with you through the marketing funnel, through the sales cycle, through onboarding and then ultimately through client service. Can we look at it through the lens of, 'How do I break out the factory work?' Those standard things that I can standardize, systematize and ultimately automate. When you do that, it frees up time to create that personal work, the focus and attention that clients that really delivers the value that you deliver in clients. 

I think it's hard for advisors to step back from the day-to-day. We get conditioned to what I call being uncomfortably comfortable. Client experience and scale – they're essentially the same as they were 10 or 15 years ago – but technology and trends and consumers and their demographics and their preferences have wildly changed. It's an incredible opportunity, especially as we face time and capacity constraints – demand is up, talent is low – how are firms going to continue to grow in that gap?

It's really about how do you build a system that scales your special so that you're adding value – we call it relationship alpha to the client – but you've got a routine and a business system that's taking care of the standard stuff so that you can actually show up in the space of trusted advisor and delivering value to that client. 

When advisors think about scaling their special, what we're really talking about is breaking out the functional work, that factory work, from the advice. The reality is all the research and certainly our experience shows the value now is advice, it's not information. It's not being a patriarch. Prescribe, diagnose and recommend is the old model.

The new model is, I want someone who can sit with me on the same side of the table, co-create a plan with me – not for me – and then create an experience every step of the way that says, 'I see you, I hear you, and I understand you at a relationship level.' Show that you have a business system – people, process and platform – backing it up with a machine that delivers consistently, reliably and proactively. 

That's scaling your special. When you do that, you can actually stop what we call pumping and dumping. Not an elegant term – but what we essentially do is we have one or two meetings a year and we pump and then we dump all the value in that meeting or two. We are left wondering why we're not having the same experience with clients – it’s because we're treating it like an event, not like a process. 

We can build service models that really scale your special by not dumping everything into the meeting. When we do spring cleaning emails to clients that say, 'Hey, it's that time of year for that beneficiary and trustee review. We've done a thorough review, this is what we have, if everything is the same, no need to respond, if there's a change please click this Calendly link and schedule a 15-minute call so we can connect with you.'

We'll do that with what we call the core standard CFP stuff. Eighty percent of that is factory work, it doesn't take advisor's talent, their “think power” to do those things. The technology can do it for us, which frees up a ton of time. 

When you put that in place, you have time for this special stuff. Now I know that my tech execs get their RSUs from Google in October. I know my retirees have their Roths, so we can mass service using technology and it surfaces so that person that says something changed for me, you might have five of those meetings calls instead of fifty.

But the for those five people, it is all about them because you were there to identify a problem and manage that over time. You're actually showing them that if I have a meeting with you and I talk with every client about beneficiaries for five minutes I get zero relationship alpha for that. Clients are like, 'Oh my God, that's such an amazing advisor.' If you do similar spring cleaning email or whatever it is, if you do that, the client goes, 'Oh, they're here, they're checking, they’re consistent, I can count on them.' That creates space in the relationship and deepens the value, what I call trust equity. That creates a ton of space at a business level for the advisor to then show up in a much more specialized and personalized way for those groups of clients.

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