I recently heard a buddy of mine do a presentation about his financial planning practice and was taken aback by the similarities between his ideal client profile and ours. Like a lot of boutique, fixed-fee money managers, my colleague has an asset minimum of $1,000,000 but has occasionally worked with individuals who have less.
Why not? He’s a pleasant, optimistic guy and they could have grown into the right kind of clients over time. He then went on to say, without exception (or malice), that every client he has ever taken on who fit this description turned out to be way more trouble than they were worth. They didn’t listen to his recommendations; they called every time the market went down and consumed a lot more time than clients who met the minimum and valued his expertise. Some even wanted a refund on management fees; and my honorable colleague was glad to oblige and move on.
It’s time to cut your losses when clients constantly demand exceptions and require the same 45-minute conversations on “why we should not do this with your portfolio” to be repeated 5 times a year.
Hire An Advisor You’re Willing To Listen To
This didn’t shock me because my father was a stockbroker in the 60’s and 70’s and was still complaining about his experiences with “annoying clients” (his words) in the mid-80’s. Can you say baggage?
While my father’s business model was a little different since he was paid commissions on trades, his worst clients were the ones who insisted on buying certain stocks (contrary to wiser counsel) then they’d blame him when these securities lost value and impacted the portfolio. They would also take credit for the ones that did well. It was very transactional, frustrating and nerve-racking. No wonder he switched careers and became a pilot.
Partner With A Subject Matter Expert
The best clients engage with a financial advisor because they recognize the benefits of leveraging a subject matter expert who uses carefully vetted investment vehicles and modeling tools to manage assets based on a client’s aspirations for growth and tolerance for risk, incorporating both strategy and a longer-term outlook. This creates a repeatable process with predictable results and allows the finance professional to efficiently manage and grow with clients who embrace the virtue of a standardized system.
An MSP Clients Can Trust As A True Partner
Integris® is looking for the same type of client mindset in our business. As a fixed-fee Atlanta Managed IT Services Provider or “MSP,” we monitor, manage, support and secure all client IT systems and users for a set, and predictable monthly fee. This is based on a formula that accounts for variables like the scope of IT systems under management, geographical footprint, compliance requirements, volume and sophistication of the data backup solution and whether or not they also require help desk/user support. Just to name a few.
The formula applies to everyone so it’s not only fair, but it’s also widely adopted by other MSPs in our service class – scalable technology practices with over $5,000,000 in annual revenue and more than 25 full-time employees. The formula applies to a range based on an all-in-seat price of $100-$250 per person, per month and no one becomes a Integris® client unless they meet our $1,500 per month minimum. Our smallest clients have 10 employees and our largest have several hundred.
Are You Our Next Best Client?
Our ideal client engages with us because they recognize the benefits of leveraging a team of technology subject matter experts armed with a best-in-class stack of tools including professional services automation, ticketing, remote management, security, and cloud services to manage their digital assets. And like my friend the financial advisor, the service mix we recommend is closely aligned with a clients’ aspirations for growth and tolerance for risk.
Ditto on the importance of strategy, standards, and a longer-term outlook to provide lasting value. A client like this operates according to their strengths and trusts us to maximize ours on their behalf. Everybody wins. Integris® is thankful to have clients like this and we look forward to meeting more of their friends.
Jed Fearon is a Solution Advisor with Integris®, a role that encompasses sales, marketing and cybersecurity awareness training. Jed can be reached at 404-551-5492, ext. 508 and firstname.lastname@example.org.