Sweating the small stuff has vast ramifications
As a firm, our team members regularly attend VIPs with our advisor clients. What is remarkable is the experiential difference that can exist between one firm’s VIP and another’s. We just recently visited three VIPs in three successive weeks at three very different firms and continue to find the advisor’s VIP experience during that 24-48 hour period, is ultimately the difference maker.
Every firm should take note – over our career, we have seen time and time again how getting to and from the VIP as well as the activities around it, such as meals and lodging, can significantly impact an advisor’s decision.
Here’s an overdone hypothetical
You are going to a legendary resort with a reputation for impeccable service. There is only one option to get to and from the resort – the resort’s driver. When you arrive at the airport the driver in a t-shirt is holding a sign with your name on it which is misspelled. As you approach, he says, “You ready…..” then turns his back and doesn’t help with your bags.
You carry your bags a ¼ mile to an older vehicle with the name of the resort written in black sharpie on the door. The A/C in the car isn’t working on this hot sweltering day. Upon approaching the resort, the driver says “Get out….” and drops you off on the street a block away. Upon leaving the resort, you have to experience the same journey to the airport. Regardless of the beauty of the resort and your experience there, what will you talk about on the plane, what will you remember for years to come?
This is an extreme analogy of course, but the fact remains that for most VIP’s the firms miss the importance of details which make up the VIP experience. It’s astonishing that as humans we tend to remember the last thing and how that particular memory impacts our overall view of the entire experience.
First impressions last almost as long as last impressions
People tend to grab onto the last thing they saw or experienced. You only have to look at the Academy Awards last year to know this to be true: 21 of the last 25 Academy Award Best Picture winners were released in theaters in the second half of the year in consideration, 12 of which were released in the final three weeks of the year. It’s not just first impressions but also LAST impressions that make a huge difference in a successful VIP.
We have seen VIPs pulled off flawlessly, others that were barely just enough, and the VIPs that insured the firm would have no chance of closing the deal with the advisor. The firms that proactively plan and implement their VIP plan from beginning to end and plan from the advisor’s perspective, not surprisingly, has much more recruiting success than those that wing it.
Experience the VIP from your advisor’s perspective
The standard rule of thumb is that most firms undervalue the VIP trip and most advisors overvalue it. We always dive into the details of how the VIP went from the advisor’s perspective, what they liked and didn’t like, if there were personality and platform synergy, and if they are more interested or less after their VIP experience. There is often a wide chasm between the firm and the advisor’s perspective on the overall success of the VIP.
If the VIP experience is amateur at best in the advisor’s eyes, it is nearly impossible for the firm to overcome that negative experience. It is all the more accurate with the top producing advisors, the future MVPs of your firm if they were to join.
Poorly planned VIPs don’t just happen with the up-and-comer firms who may not have extensive VIP planning experience. In fact, there are only a few firms who have the recruiting VIP white gloves experience dialed in. We have firms that even prefer to outsource the VIP first and last impressions to us rather than from within their HQ walls.
The attention to details sends a broader message
We often hear advisors extrapolate one miss-step or flaw in the HOV experience and relate it to the firm as a whole. Actual recent advisor quotes:
- “If they struggle with getting something as simple as my flight details right, then what other issues with details will I have with this firm if I joined?”
- “If they booked dinner at a steakhouse when I specifically stated I was a vegetarian how can I trust they will get my onboarding process done efficiently?”
- “If I got treated with this little care, how could I possibly trust them with my clients?”
Most advisors don’t want to be an imposition, seem a diva or come across as a demanding individual. They aren’t going to send you their demands and preferences for everything. But if you ask, they will be happy to share.
Attention to detail is the hallmark of a top advisor’s interaction with their clients. If an advisor is going to change firms, he or she certainly won’t select a firm representing standards of quality and attention to client experience that are contrary to what the advisor has lived by.
Is it fair for an advisor to take failings in logistics and details and apply those to their overall view of the firm? Absolutely.
Written by the Advisorbox Team
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