by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Forward Thinking Magazine : August 2011
growth strategies Communicating value One of the most significant changes for many advisory businesses will be to their pricing model. Communicating the shift from a model that features commissions to a new value proposition based on fee for service is likely to be the core message of the communication plan. "Before you start talking to your clients, make sure you and your staff can clearly articulate the new value proposition and its benefits. Your staff must understand what's changing and why, because they will have the front line role explaining the new pricing to your clients," says Helen Copp, Macquarie Adviser Services' Communications Manager. "Staff need to understand what you are building so they can help you to grow your practice, which is why it is essential to give the changes to your pricing model some context and help staff understand why the reforms are happening." Client contact One of the key things that will change under the new regulatory regime is increased client contact. "For many advisory practices, clients are going to be asked to pay more for financial advice, which means they are going to expect a higher level of service," says Copp. "The proposed opt-in provision will mean clients will need to opt in periodically. If clients receive great service it's highly likely they will be more inclined to opt-in to continue to receive services. This is something that both clients and staff will need to get used to, so make sure you design systems that will make this process as smooth as possible," she advises. It is also important to set up a process so that staff seek and record client feedback about how your changes are affecting them, so that you get a good understanding of what is important to your clients. As your client base will be made up of a number of different segments, it is essential to develop different communication strategies for each segment to make your plan as effective as it can be -- there is no 'one size fits all' approach to client communication. For some segments, the transition to the new regulatory regime will be relatively simple. For others, making the change will be a much more complex process. For example, some clients will be more impacted by your pricing changes than others because of the products they hold, and some will be more impacted by the opt-in requirement if they are less frequently engaged with your services. It is especially important to look at segmentation if your business has recently acquired another practice. Referral partners Copp says the new reforms may present an opportunity to connect with referral partners and remind them of the value of your service and the achievements you have had together. "Why not use the new reforms as an excuse to reiterate your business's point of difference?" she says. Similarly, it is worth ensuring your suppliers understand the changes and why they are happening, as well as what you are trying to achieve, so they can help support you in implementing them. "Being proactive with this will encourage your referral partners to feel confident that you are managing your business effectively and are planning ahead for client needs," says Copp. Developing the right messages and rolling out the plan Developing robust messages for your communication strategy is about being able to clearly articulate what differentiates your business from your competitors -- and less is more. "Messages must have substance and be communicated in plain English. You must be clear about what your message means for your clients and what action, if any, they need to take," advises Copp. Developing appropriate marketing collateral When it comes to developing appropriate marketing collateral remember it will be important to consider different channels including your website, corporate brochures, letters and, if you have one, your newsletter. "It's also essential to develop a sales meeting agenda around the changes in your practice, as this is one of the most important client communication points for an advisory business. Make sure you and your advisers know how to make the most of sales meetings to communicate the benefits of the changes, and take time to listen carefully to client concerns and note and follow up on any actions that arise out of the meeting." Above all, it is important to take a planned, step-by-step approach when communicating to clients. By taking the time now to work out the right communication strategy for your business, when the final reforms are released your practice will be in a strong position to take a front-foot approach to communicating with stakeholders. 23