In today’s industries, progress is the heartbeat to an inevitable cycle of change and the advisory business carries no exception. As successful advisory practices continue to evolve, it is becoming necessary to undertake a succession plan that suits your clients’ needs. Whether you are ready to hand over the keys or you are thinking about a succession plan, consider four of these best practices to creating a smooth transition for your clients and organizing an effective plan.
- Create a List of Goals
An initial challenge advisors may face is learning where to start, and the first step to any new undertaking is to set goals. Begin with analyzing your own professional and personal goals for this venture with keeping your clients in mind. As goal number one, you know that you want to leave your clients in the best of hands in order to preserve client happiness and retention. Both buyers and sellers lose when clients decide to find other services. Therefore, set your goals by putting your clients at the forefront of a service-based strategy.
- Maintain Consistency
One of the most important factors for switching advisors is continuity for your clients. Client retention will be the highest when change is minimal. Clients do not want to have to establish new relationships and no one wants to fill out information that they have already completed. As a solution, advisory firm sellers should make sure that documentation about clients is thorough. There should not be any gaps or pending questions when it comes to a new advisor understanding the client base.
Moreover, a transition can maximize value by including all compliance procedures, contingency plans, and absorbing all business practices. If your clients value your internal business culture, it is important that you equally focus on upholding the same standards during and after the succession.
- Establish Some Familiarity
With unfamiliar change on the way, a support team can help your clients feel more comfortable. Consider moving people such as client service representative and other client-serving administrative personnel to the new advisor’s team. This group can serve as a liaison between clients and the new advisor while he or she focuses on reselling the clients on their services. In addition, an important step into creating client relationships is for the new advisor to become a familiar face. Make time to meet clients individually to learn their needs or have administrative personnel sign them up for the newsletter. Whichever strategy is used, it is important that clients do not feel that they are being tossed over as a transaction.
- Communicate the Outcome
Finally, the new advisor and his or her predecessor should not underestimate the value and responsibility of informing clients about the move. As a courtesy, all top clients should be notified face-to-face. However, if advisors decide they do not have the time to personally inform smaller clients, write and send out a sincere letter with the details strategically described and the option to discuss the decision further. Understanding the many factors that influence a succession plan is a crucial step. Advisors who take the time to address their clients will see their efforts when the time comes to make the transition.
At Tennessee Brokerage Agency, we value proactive and continuous planning to better suit the needs of our clients. With this standard in place, we understand the importance of maintaining valuable services in the midst of change in relation to succession planning.