A financial planning organization determined the need to transform into a digitally enabled, client-centric organization. While the systems and process improvements were core to the transformation process, establishing a consultative framework and skills set that aligned with the values of the business and compliance frameworks helped to ensure clients were engaged in the advice process and that the benefits of new technology were leveraged and recognized.
Wilson Learning conducted a comprehensive analysis and created three customized programs, suitable for financial planners, support team members, and the executive leadership team. The Consultative Process™, rolled out to financial planners and the support team, introduced a problem-solving mindset and an effective process for consulting with clients. By modifying behavioral patterns and developing better systems, consistent measures remained in place to assess conversion to business results.
Supporting departments were also provided with skill reinforcement to help establish improved client engagement as a way of working across the business. A total of 260 employees participated in the consultative process programs over two years.
Nearly two years after commencement of The Consultative Process, The Consultative Service Provider (custom), and Leading the Consultative Approach (custom) systems and skills programs, the impact evaluation revealed a positive effect on skills, performance, and client engagement at all levels. Key improvements were noted in:
- Client engagement—From the process of consulting with the client to providing customized solutions for each individual client, participants were better able to understand and address prospective issues. They were also able to generate greater alignment and commitment with clients by using a win-win problem-solving approach. Participants saw a marked improvement in their ability to build greater rapport with clients, as well as gain a better understanding of the client’s situation to provide a more compelling advice solution.
- Communication—Participants found it easier to deal with difficult situations, as well as tackle issues related to fee earlier in the conversation. The approach and language used by CSOs, CRMs, and managers also ensured managers can now support, reinforce, and coach the skills to become internal experts. There has also been a definite decreased level of stress on the job with improved ability to deal with challenging behavior.
- Business results—Consistent measures also proved an enhancement in conversion rates from the initial conversation to actual client solutions.