If you’re truly looking to take your business to the next level, you want to have consistent, predictable processes in every action you and your team take. You want systems that allow you to control the client experience, communication standards, and even what each team member is tasked with doing on a day-to-day operations basis. This isn’t about micromanaging at all; rather, it’s about setting up standard operating procedures so everyone knows how to do their job, and the job of other team members just in case. And they know this because it’s all documented and ready for them.
In this three-part series, I’ll cover three big topics that go along with bringing systems and processes into your business:
- Why creating systems and processes is so important, and how to get started
- Which systems and processes should you document?
If you are having trouble getting started on this, just start asking questions. Questions like: “How, specifically, do we greet clients? How do we seat clients in the conference room? How do we send birthday cards? What is our system for sending out IRA distributions? Every question that comes up indicates there is a process that should or could be documented.
- Why You Should Always Be Updating Your Systems and Processes
If something’s not working well for your clients, then it may be time to rework your existing systems so that nothing falls through the cracks.
The right systems and processes —and vigilance about maintaining them— are essential if you want to grow a large practice that doesn’t depend on you. The more things are systematized, the less chance things will fall through the cracks and the greater the likelihood that clients will have a consistently superior experience with your firm.
So let’s begin with why systems and processes are so important, and why you need to implement them in your business as soon as possible.
Superior & Consistent Customer Experience
We created every system and process in my business (and still do) with the client experience in mind. Consumers are heavily influenced by the experiences they have as they make a purchase. Nordstrom knows this. Nordstrom customers know that if they need to return something today or next year, they will have a similar experience – a transaction with no questions asked. Interestingly enough, consumers and clients are also creatures of habit. If they liked the experience, they want to have that experience repeated over and over and over again. Changes to the experience, whether good or bad, can alter the way a client perceives your business.
By way of analogy, consider the habitual nature of people who go to church. They tend to sit in the same section of the church each week, in the same pew, and usually around the same people, because they want consistency of experience. One of the reasons McDonald’s is so successful is that people can go to a McDonald’s anywhere in the world —whether it’s in Salt Lake City, New York City, or Munich, Germany— and have a very predictable experience.
The same principles apply to our business. It is important to create systems and processes to (1) define the experience you want your clients to have and (2) assure that experience is repeated over and over again. You don’t want your clients calling or coming in each time and having a different experience. It can really change the nature of their relationship with you.
How do you do this in practical terms? Here are some examples.
- Make sure every team member answers the phone the same way
- Set up the conference room in exactly the same manner every time.
- Greet customers in the same way, regardless of which staff member is giving the greeting. If you know your clients’ drink preferences ahead of time, serve them their drink of choice without them having to ask.
BONUS: Clients are likely to sit in the same seat in your conference room each time they enter. We like to control where the clients sit the first time they come in because we know they will gravitate to that same seat the next time they come. Therefore, we have a system that determines where we want them to be seated the first time they enter our office so that we can optimize their experience with us.
It’s something we have trained hundreds of advisors to do when working with couples, especially. Here’s an example of that seating strategy in action:
If there is a husband and wife, we always seat the woman at the head of the table and her husband on the side that does not face the door of the conference room. Why? One, because we want her to feel like she has some control in the meeting and to see herself as someone who has something vital to contribute to the discussion.
Two, we do not want the male client distracted by anything going on in the hallway outside the conference room. Since we have glass windows, we try to keep the distractions to a minimum. Often the woman will not readily accept the seat at the head of the table, so I explain to her it’s much easier on me to have her there and her husband directly across from me so I don’t have to end up with “tennis head,” turning my head from side to side if they are on opposite sides of the table. That usually works.
Another tactic is to make sure the receptionist serves her drink at the head of the table so she knows that spot was prepared for her. The extent to which you create consistent experiences will be the extent to which your clients feel comfortable coming in and referring others to you.
Systems Constantly Evolve
By now, we probably have hundreds of systems and processes, but it’s taken decades to come up with all of them. Obviously as we changed brokers/dealers and moved, hired new positions, etc. over the years, we have had to refresh our systems. It’s like cleaning the rooms of your house. By the time you clean the last room in your house, the first one you went through needs to be re-cleaned.
Systems allow you to ‘standardize’ your business steps so the client experience and team actions are all consistent and predictable. When you’re using standardized systems and processes in your business, you can grow more effectively because you are in control of each step. If something needs to change, you’re not reinventing the wheel – you’re just updating a step in the system you use. Moreover, systems also give your business better efficiency and a higher dollar value to a potential buyer the road, if you decide to sell when you retire.
In part two of this Systems Series, I’ll go through several of the systems we established so you can see the ones we consider the most important.
Take it a step further today.
If you’d like to take the systems and processes lesson to the next level and get my exact blueprint for running a Seven Figure Firm, I invite you to check out the Elite Advisor Success System™ – a step-by-step business training program that gives you everything you need to build and successfully implement the right systems to grow your firm, even when you’re not in the office. I give you all my worksheets, scripts, plans, and models so you can serve more clients, make more money, and have more freedom.
And this program will allow you to copy exactly what I –an advisor just like you– did to achieve the highest levels of success. Rather than learning from a coach that’s never been a successful advisor, everything in the Elite Advisor program comes with my 30 years of experience in what works. Learn more today!