Kerri Sullivan-Kreiss, CFP®, AIF®, based her unbiased advisory agency, SullivanKreiss Monetary, in 2004. Having spent the earlier 13 years as an advisor on employees with a publicly traded firm, she wished to go away huge company agendas and proprietary funding merchandise behind. As president of her personal enterprise, Sullivan-Kreiss was wanting to develop a concierge service mannequin constructed round a powerful tradition of fiduciary duty to shoppers.
As Sullivan-Kreiss says, “I’ve all the time based mostly my enterprise on the basic principal of treating others as I want to be handled. My goal is de facto quite simple: to place our shoppers’ pursuits first, act with integrity, and embrace the distinctiveness that every consumer brings to our observe.”
Throughout our conversations, the pressure of Sullivan-Kreiss’s dedication to this imaginative and prescient all the time shined by. The profitable progress of her agency may very well be seen as emblematic of the depth with which Sullivan-Kreiss engages with shoppers. It additionally highlights her extremely environment friendly use of time. To supply the personalised concierge service that Sullivan-Kreiss believes makes her agency particular, she has grow to be a grasp of time administration. She has discovered how one can function effectively and collect the mandatory sources to maintain progress and construct economies of scale.
When you’re trying to go unbiased or develop a longtime advisory enterprise, understanding the ability of Sullivan-Kreiss’s enterprise selections might assist you to chart the way in which towards optimizing your time and setting your agency up for long-term progress.
Constructing One thing Particular
For Sullivan-Kreiss, constructing consumer relationships is all about specializing in the journey with every individual you serve. With a view to develop a high quality observe, you must make every consumer really feel particular. Which will sound elementary, but it surely’s essential to maintain prime of thoughts. As she says, “It’s being there for shoppers by on a regular basis moments, celebrating life’s main milestones, and serving to to offer assist, encouragement, and, hopefully, consolation throughout troublesome occasions.”
A proactive service mannequin. Ideally, SullivanKreiss Monetary shoppers shouldn’t get voicemail once they name, and follow-up to requests and issues should be speedy and correct. However concierge service is greater than that: it’s being proactive versus responsive, going above and past what’s anticipated. Sullivan-Kreiss focuses on long-term, complete monetary planning; she isn’t excited about “merely being a cash supervisor.” This implies setting common evaluations to maintain abreast of modifications in shoppers’ lives and assembly each two weeks when creating a plan for a brand new consumer.
The outcome? Sullivan-Kreiss has constructed one thing particular: a extremely engaged group of long-term shoppers. For her, that’s what makes the advisory enterprise rewarding and enjoyable. And there’s icing on the cake: in accordance with Sullivan-Kreiss, “Nearly all of my agency’s new shoppers come from referrals from current shoppers.”
Spending Extra Time with Shoppers
As you may see, Sullivan-Kreiss’s enterprise mannequin is straight tied to her spending as a lot time as attainable with shoppers. Notably, like a lot of her Commonwealth friends, Sullivan-Kreiss spends considerably extra time in consumer conferences than different business advisors. That’s in accordance with a 2020–2021 research carried out by Commonwealth in partnership with Cerulli Associates, which discovered that, on common, Commonwealth advisors spend 33 % extra time in consumer conferences than different advisors from each wirehouse and unbiased corporations.
In reality, based mostly on additional evaluation of the information, Commonwealth’s Follow Administration crew decided that Sullivan-Kreiss ranked within the prime decile of productiveness amongst Commonwealth advisors, based mostly on gross income, progress charge, and period of time spent with shoppers. This statistic speaks to the essential work Sullivan-Kreiss undertakes day in and day trip with the people she serves.
Reaching Scale and Effectivity
So, how is Sullivan-Kreiss in a position to spend a lot time with shoppers? There are inherent difficulties in scaling a concierge mannequin. Nonetheless, as she labored by fixing them, Sullivan-Kreiss discovered that having the proper employees and agency companion can assist facilitate enterprise scale and effectivity.
The ability of your folks. Sullivan-Kreiss delegates administrative, operational, and sure planning duties so she will deal with client-facing work. With three full-time employees members (a director of consumer relations, a monetary analyst, and an operations supervisor), she is evident on their significance to her enterprise mannequin: “My crew is phenomenal. What they do behind the scenes allows me to be good at my job and spend as a lot time as I can with my shoppers. Their strengths permit the agency to ship top-tier concierge-level assist—the personalized effect we commit to each consumer.”
Based on Sullivan-Kreiss, her regular progress has been pushed by her crew’s steadiness of competencies. And that progress has introduced the agency to an inflection level, the place extra employees is important. To deal with the amount of labor and maintain her productiveness excessive, Sullivan-Kreiss plans so as to add an funding supervisor and a further advisor to the crew.
When requested about recommendation for advisors trying to develop, she states, “One of the crucial productive issues you are able to do is empower your folks and provides them room to develop. It’s completely key to have the proper folks on employees, significantly those that have complementary expertise units to yours.”
The impression of your agency companion. Sullivan-Kreiss remembers her agency’s early years flying by in a blur, however she has all the time acknowledged the significance of a supportive agency companion. She explains, “Along with actually busting your derriere . . . you must domesticate the proper relationships with the proper folks. It’s essential have a companion behind you that’s proactive and responsive.”
Like different unbiased advisors, Sullivan-Kreiss seems to her agency companion for a big selection of back-office sources and assist. As a result of her work is grounded in monetary planning, she appreciates having specialists, equivalent to Commonwealth’s Superior Planning crew, available to speak by a posh planning or retirement drawback.
As for funding administration, Sullivan-Kreiss acknowledges that this position is an ongoing problem for any unbiased agency. She prefers customized portfolio administration and, with the help of her monetary analyst, does a substantial amount of her personal funding analysis. Nonetheless, if a consumer is searching for a selected funding technique, she needs to have the ability to depend on her agency companion for specialised information. She receives that assist from Commonwealth’s Funding Administration and Analysis crew.
Finally, Sullivan-Kreiss says that your agency companion should be capable to present a “phenomenal stage of assist” that’s tailor-made to your wants.
Cementing the Cornerstones of Success
Being an unbiased advisor has allowed Sullivan-Kreiss to utterly align her agency together with her values and shoppers’ finest pursuits. She’s been in a position to construct the agency she’s all the time dreamed
of, one based mostly on placing her shoppers’ wants first and powered by environment friendly time administration. Proper now, she’s targeted on the fun of the current and accelerating much more progress sooner or later. Something is feasible together with her imaginative and prescient, a powerful crew, and Commonwealth’s partnership at her again.
When you’re an advisor desirous to go unbiased, Sullivan-Kreiss’s recommendation is to do it as quickly as you may. As for contemplating a agency companion, be thorough about due diligence and align with a agency whose values mirror yours. Final, however actually not least, all the time remember the fact that you need to go the place you may develop, even when it’s one step at a time.
The Affect Your Agency Accomplice Can Have on Effectivity
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