To Deliver a Transformative Experience Think Like a Client

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Advisors must redesign their entire approach, starting from the client's point of view.

To appreciate the importance of this paradigm, think back to this moment in the movie City Slickers: Mitch, the world-weary New York executive who, with his friends, signed on to a cattle drive at a remote dude ranch. He is talking to Curly, the seasoned, rugged ranch foreman. Curly looks at Mitch and holds up one finger.

Curly: "One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that, and everything else don't mean [expletive deleted]."

Mitch: "That's great, but – what's the one thing?"

Curly: "That's what you gotta figure out."

The crux of the story involves Mitch and his friends pursuing the "vision quest" prescribed by Curly. Over the course of the movie, they each, in different ways, figure out their "one thing."

For RIAs, the "one thing" is delivering excellent fiduciary service to as many clients as possible. But too often, as advisors launch their practices, the day-to-day management of the firm requires the advisor, so she can maintain both growth and client loyalty, to operate in a reactive mode most of the time as she tries to respond meaningfully to a growing range of client requests and needs. In these cases, what started as a firm with a core growth strategy becomes a place where each day sees frantic activity that still seems to leave advisors with the sense that, despite all their earnest efforts, important things were left undone.