Do your clients deserve the best you can offer?
Remember your first clients? Remember how hard you worked to really excel and hopefully earn their trust and future work? Back then you knew shoddy or late work would not provide the opportunities to get off the establishment runway and fly towards growth, success and better returns.
As you gained traction your instincts were confirmed that offering your clients the best service you possible could was the ‘ticket to the game’ to your growing reputation and success. Deliver your best work become the unspoken motto, the assumed starting point for every opportunity, client or job.
What happened next?
You are rewarded for doing your best work with more opportunities to do more of your best work with existing clients, their networks and probably their referrals. You slowly start to attract more clients for whom your focus is obviously built upon doing your best work. Your earlier start-up dreams are starting to come true providing a deserved sense of achievement.
What happened next?
I heard it yesterday in conversation with an adviser.
“We are just so busy doing so much for our clients, we just don’t have time”.
What happens next is the business falls into its own unique ‘success trap’.
Because of your success establishing a service business built upon an ethos of always doing your best work for every client, which is a normal and needed approach for start-up, the business now has classic problems of success.
There are just more things to do, more expectations to meet, more current and past promises to be delivered upon, more opportunities for more work, more and different types of work to deliver, more appointments to attend, more calls to return, more emails from more clients. Fundamentally there are more clients with more expectations that you’ve promised your firm will do it’s best at delivering upon.
You know that you have to live up to your word. That’s the expectation that you’ve not only set with your clients, you’ve set it with yourself. You have to deliver.
What happened next?
The natural next reaction is to hire more people, which is a great problem to have. That’s proves that we’re successful and growing small business.
Or does it?
Unchecked this cycle will eventually strangle the next layer of staff as well.
You hire new people, you train more people, you manage more people, plus you continue to keep your ‘best we can be’ promises to existing clients (and the new ones still coming on) and are very aware not to disappoint loyal clients by passing them onto a ‘junior’ new team member – that’s not delivering the ‘best’ is it?
You seem to be digging deeper into your success trap as the sought after feelings of success, enjoyment, new opportunities, options, and free time seem to be getting strangled by just the momentum of something that you’ve created – your successful job or business.
Fundamentally, every client deserves respect, but once past start-up, not all clients deserve your best.
Only your best clients deserve your best.
When you were a start-up every client was your best client. Once you get momentum, not every client can be your best client. Today’s best client probably won’t be tomorrow’s best client so be wary of promising something today that you can’t afford to deliver tomorrow.
So do our clients deserve the best we can offer?
Most advisers running advisory businesses would say “yes” whereas most business-people running advisory businesses would say “it depends”.
Most advisers find it difficult and sometimes a shock to let go of the familiar habits which they relied upon to establish themselves. Change and improvement is always painful. Despite the pain, advisers must move from thinking as an establishing adviser to thinking as establishing businessperson.
What do you reckon?
About Jim Stackpool
For nearly 30 years Jim has influenced, coached, and consulted to advisory firms across Australia. As founder of Certainty Advice Group, he leads a like-minded team of professional advisory firms seeking to create greater certainty for their clients. As an author, blogger, columnist, and keynote speaker, Jim is regularly called upon for his professional insights into the advice industry. His latest book Seeking Certainty is available now.