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How coaching helps financial planners build differentiated practices

08 April 2021 Old Mutual Wealth

As the country prepares to navigate the economic impact of a potential third COVID-19 wave of infections, small businesses — including financial advisory practices — are under increasing pressure.

By tapping into the wisdom of business coaching, financial planners can take the guesswork out of building relevant, compelling, and sustainable businesses — setting themselves up for growth in 2021 and beyond.

This is the view of Sharon Moller, a Financial Planning Coach at Old Mutual Wealth, who says, "because of the advisory role that financial planners play in the lives of their clients, it can become challenging for them to be on the receiving end of such support and advice. Yet, it is essential to sometimes flip the script and get a fresh perspective. This allows financial planners the space to spot opportunities in their businesses they may have overlooked."

Moller says that financial planners spend a lot of time working in their financial practice and not enough time on their actual business in her experience. "All financial advisors work in their business – they do the work of advising clients, dealing with operational matters and squeezing in extra meetings, among much more. But this is only half the story," she says.

"In these instances, all the business owner is doing is managing what is in front of them, minute to minute. Financial planners need to work on the business too. They need to build processes and practices that allow the business and employees to work independently of them."

To do this, Moller says that financial planners need to understand their existing clients and the clients they want to attract by building a differentiated value proposition. This is an intentionally designed philosophy that makes you stand out as unique and better than your competition.

"With increased rivalry for market share locally and worldwide, connected consumers are looking for people and brands that resonate with them.

"A good coach will help an advisor connect not only the client's plan but also with their hearts, and this needs to be carried across and supported at every interaction a client has with the business, be that the language used, the website, social media accounts and support staff," says Moller.

To establish your value proposition, Moller says that financial advisors should be able to answer the following questions:

1. What is it that I do for my clients that sets me apart? Can I articulate this clearly, so they understand and appreciate what I do for them?
2. Am I charging a fair fee for the work I do for my clients? Do I know what a reasonable cost looks like for my clients?
3. What will impact my business if I can't work for a day, month, or year?

By working with qualified business coaches specialising in financial planning, Moller says small practice owners can answer these questions with confidence, which is important in dealing with potential uncertainty in 2021.

"A qualified coach will also go through a process to equip a financial planner to settle on the fairest pricing structure, as well as how to have those conversations with clients," says Moller.

It may be daunting to consider spending time on the business and putting in this effort. However, Moller says failing to do so means practise owners will not be able to put in place the plans and structures that drive the growth and efficiencies every owner looks for.

But going through a coaching process will empower a business owner to work towards a better relationship with their time and money, which will undoubtedly drive efficiency. "Just as clients need to trust their advisors and the process, small advisory practice owners need to find a coach they trust and then trust the process," concludes Moller.

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