Mark, I understand that before you created all these tools in The Trusted Advisor Toolkit™ you had a business model that didn't work (you worked 88 hours per week) and you had too many clients (more than you could even meet with annually). I also understand that you are a follower of Bill Bachrach's Values-Based Financial Planning™ method which includes a Financial Road Map® exercise. My question is, did you do a Financial Road Map® with your Non-ideal Clients?
Response from Mark
Yes, I did a Financial Road Map® with every Non-ideal Client. In June of 1999, the month I met Bill Bachrach, I had 1,242 client accounts. Far more than I could sit down with even once per year.
After meeting Bill Bachrach, he coached me to establish an Ideal Client Profile and then apply that profile to my 1,242. As it turns out, after applying my Ideal Client Profile to my existing clients I had only 17 Ideal Clients. I was terrified and realized that if I chose to move forward to implement a better business model, I was practically starting over.
Nevertheless I proceeded to politely disengage from 1,225 smaller or inappropriate clients leaving me with 17 Ideal Clients who referred me to 74 other Ideal Clients within 34 months. My recurring revenue quadrupled and I created the tools that you are implementing on The Trusted Advisor Toolkit™ (http://trustedadvisortoolkit.com).
Before disengaging, however, I did over to help every Non-ideal Client to complete their Financial Road Map® before I stopped working with them. I also offered to refer them to another advisor or "point them in the right direction" if they were considering becoming a "do-it-yourselfer." Some Non-ideal Clients took me up on the offer and completed their Financial Road Map®, others did not. It was entirely their choice. From my perspective, I had already resolved that I was not serving some of these clients as well as a younger, less experienced advisor was able and willing to provide these Non-ideal Clients.
My thinking was "what better gift can I give these wonderful people," some of whom I had worked with for a dozen years, than an up-to-date Financial Road Map® to share with their new advisor. A gift of clarity and a method of quickly communicating their current financial reality, their goals and the things that matter most to them.
So I am happy that I was able to give that gift of clarity to many of these clients I decided to politely disengage from. In the end, it was a very tough decision but I ultimately decided it was in the best interest of all the clients who met the profile of the Ideal Client that we serve the best to, disengage from every client who did not meet the profile. Our Ideal Client community was much better-served without the distraction of attempting to serve clients who did not meet our Ideal Client Profile.