Handing on the Baton

Handing on the Baton

When many advisory firms first start out, it’s just one person doing everything – the planning, the advice, making the tea, the marketing….everything. But eventually, the team expands. The important thing is acknowledging the skills within your team, and knowing when to hand over to the best person for the job – otherwise, you’ll just end up delivering a mediocre service. Let me explain

Teams evolve

Most firms expand. They grow and take on new members of staff. And when we do expand, we try to ensure that we have specialists in different areas – a Planner, a Paraplanner, an Administrator etc. And that’s great!

But what we’re not always great at, is handing over to those specialists – and at the right point. So why is this so important? Well, it’s about playing to your strengths – and it’s crucial if you’re trying to provide an exceptional service.

We’re all good at different things

The Financial Planner loves financial planning. They come alive in front of the client because they are warm, empathic, they love working with people and they are great at explaining things.

And Paraplanners come alive with data, spreadsheets and cash flow models – they just love all that. Similarly, Administrators love project management, workflow and organisation – that’s where they truly shine.

The thing is, as human beings, we’re all good at different things. But there often comes a point where we find ourselves drifting into areas that we’re not so good at.

When it’s not our area, it’s time to hand over

When we find ourselves doing things that are no longer the things we’re good at – when we’re doing things that are outside of our skill set – it’s time to hand things over to someone who can do it better.

It’s a bit like the handover that should happen when a client gets to the transactional end of their financial planning. All of the great human stuff has been done – the Planner has done a fantastic job – and it’s then time to move on to the very different matter of application paperwork, and things like that.

But often, the Advisor or Planner ends up completing the transactional paperwork with the client too. Remember, their forte is empathy, explaining and people skills. Are paperwork, administration, diligence, organisation and processing workflow also their forte? No. Not at all.

So what happens when they crack on with these jobs too? The quality of service takes a bit of a dip – the client gets a fantastic financial planning service, but a mediocre application and processing service. Is that what we want? Really?

Providing a great service means working to your skill set

What we really want is the Planner working their magic in their specialist area and delivering a great planning service. Then, when it’s time for application paperwork, they need to hand the next stage over to a specialist in administration and processing. Why? Because that way, the level of service doesn’t dip.

At each stage of the PlanHappy Lifestyle Financial Planning process, the client needs to go from one specialist to another – and experience the same great service throughout.

When everyone works to their specialist skill set, they are focusing solely on the job that they are fantastic at. We don’t want our clients to experience an average service – we want them to experience a top end service, from start to finish. We need the best possible person for each element of your client’s journey.

This is so important, yet so many firms just don’t appreciate this. But why is that?

Why don’t all firms embrace this logic?

I think there’s a certain Britishness at play. We can often behave a bit like martyrs:

“well, I’ll just carry on and do this bit too because I always used to…”

Or even that mentality where we feel the client knows us and likes us, so we end up dabbling in other areas (outside our skill set) so that we don’t have to bring someone else into the room.

But that’s just wrong.

Then there’s pride. You may feel that you can do all the roles yourself. And maybe you can. But, can you do every role to the same high standard? Can you do each role as effectively as the specialist members of your team?

All roles are equally important

It’s important to stress that all roles are equally important. Each may require a different set of skills, but, to the client, every role is of equal importance. There’s no superiority here – it’s simply about who does what best.

And if someone tries to dabble in an area that isn’t within their skill set, they are actually undermining the person who could be doing it fantastically.

The moral of the story

So, the moral of the story is that we really need to look at the handover points. Are they in the right place for the skill sets required? Or are we just handing over at the end of the meeting, simply because it’s the end of the meeting?

Really think this through. Should the Processor have been brought in a bit earlier? Would that have added more value?

The level of service you provide has to be exceptional – throughout. It’s about letting everyone in your team do the things that they are truly fantastic at.

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