I was speaking with an advisory team last week, and they told me a process story.
This team has bought in completely, and it was a major shift in mindset and process for the team. They had committed to keeping on Pareto’s process as closely as possible.
They recently had a new referral. They went through the pre-appointment process as outlined and had the first appointment, pretty much exactly as scripted. They made the follow-up phone call 48 hours later, and agreed they were a good fit. The next appointment was set to follow in two weeks.
The CSA was tasked with getting in touch with the prospective client and letting him know what info was needed for the second appointment. The prospective client said he needed more time, and rescheduled an additional week out.
When the CSA contacted to confirm the appointment, he moved it again. Then emailed and moved it yet again. The appointment was now set two months out from its initial date.
The Advisor decided that they couldn’t go that far off process, so he called the prospective client and, in effect, told him that their process involved moving forward, and they couldn’t know what their capacity would be in two months. So if prospective client wanted to revisit the fit process in two months, he asked that they get in touch and that the Advisor’s team would look at possible fit again.
The reaction? The prospective client hung up the phone, and said “they fired me!”
A couple of hours later, the prospective client called the advisor and apologized for being negligent, and for disrespecting the advisor’s process. He asked if they would please allow him to get together all the needed financial information and meet in two weeks.
Following this interaction, the Advisor said his strategy in dealing with client challenges going forward, is to “throw the process under the bus when necessary” – effectively highlighting that it’s not a whim on the Advisor’s part that things are done on schedule. It’s not personal; it’s the process that the Advisor follows in order to best serve his clients.
Contributed by Elaine Christakos