It can be tempting to focus almost entirely on finding new clients and providing advice.
But by taking an overview of the entire client journey, you can optimise your business for every step along the way.
The perfect journey begins before the client’s aware of your business - when they need help, but don’t know where to turn.
There are many ways to target these prospects, such as boosting your SEO, utilising PPC, or taking out local adverts.
But however they find you, your first step is to make a great first impression with a strong proposition.
Whether it’s an advert in a local shop or the homepage on your website, your client proposition must achieve three things: engage new clients, build their trust, and convince them to choose you.
To work out how to frame your proposition, it helps to boil it down to two simple messages – what you will do for the client, and what makes you the right fit for them.
Make it as concrete as you can – ‘helping local farmers with their tax returns’ or ‘advising over 50’s on their pension options’, for example.
It’s important to build your proposition starting from the clients’ situation to immediately engage them, and use your testimonials and qualifications to gain their trust and convince them.
Once a new client chooses you and makes contact, your business should be optimised to immediately validate their choice.
State that you’ve helped people in their situation before, and you know exactly what to do.
Great customer experience is just as important as the advice you offer, so respond to their enquiry quickly to maximise your conversion, and use a pre-made welcome programme to make this stage as simple as possible.
It’s vital to be proactive and efficient, and not think that because a client has made contact they’re therefore fully onboard. This is the stage when you truly secure them as a client, so put as much thinking into this step as you put into finding new clients in the first place.
Once they’ve been onboarded, provide great customer experience by tailoring your advice to your client’s needs.
For the initial client engagement, it’s important to be proactive, decisive, and in control to affirm their decision. But once they’ve been onboarded, you then have the freedom to be more flexible and take a softer approach.
To do this, spend time finding out about their needs. Understand what timings work for them – be that the length of individual meetings or the frequency of the meetings themselves. How would they like to receive advice? Do they want you to travel to them, or would they rather receive advice remotely?
Strike a balance between being open to their suggestions, and being in control of implementing them. Spend time between meetings working on a plan of action for every request, so nothing a client asks is ever too much.
Once they reach the end of your advice process, it’s time to deliver results.
This is the stage professionals tend to be most comfortable with, having undergone rigorous training to gain the qualifications needed to provide the best advice.
But to deliver perfection, look to optimise every aspect of this stage and view the advice you offer here as the minimum required of you.
For example, during your final client meeting be ready with small gifts to celebrate your client’s new found financial freedom. Small touches like this transform your services from great to exceptional.
Doing so not only creates a result that your client can’t wait to recommend, but it also helps you be bolder with your initial client proposition. You can promise the very best to hook them, safe in the knowledge you’ve optimised your client journey to deliver on this promise.
Once the client is satisfied with their advice, it can be tempting to move on to the next client. But maintaining the relationship you’ve worked hard to build is key.
Newsletters and social media are great tools to keep your old clients engaged, but sending emails to check how they’re getting on or posting a card at Christmas can be even more effective.
These engagement methods are vital in converting a satisfied client into an advocate, opening them up to referrals and further advice down the line, as well as encouraging testimonials to bolster your initial client proposition.
By maximising every step along the way, the end of one client’s journey can spark the beginning of another’s, resulting in more new business and an engaged, advocating client base.