Next, take a look at the Client Relationship Process chart. Study the four areas for identifying your process.

Column one: List up to 10 steps in your process that differentiate you from your competition.

Column two: Explain each step. What are the specific actions you need to take to complete each step? How do you make these actions come alive? For example, what are the specific things you do for a client through asset allocation? Do you use third-party software? Do you ask probing types of questions?

Column three: List the many ways you differentiate yourself from your competition. This step is more difficult to analyze. Think of your core competitors-is there a benchmark that sets you apart? Do you know their process?

Column four: List additional ways you can add more value to each step for your prospects and clients. Is there anything at all in your process that you can change to make it even better?

Make sure to complete at least the first two columns of this chart so you can "get your arms around your process." The last two steps (three and four), may take some time to complete, but keep thinking about what differentiates your process and how you can make the steps even more powerful or take them to another level.

On all of these sections on the chart, go as deeply as you can. If you really think about it, many of the things you do for clients you take for granted. Once you write down the things you offer, you'll be surprised at the level of service you actually provide (or not!)

Last Points To Consider

Now that you have a formal process, know the objectives, and can implement each step, here are a few more points. The last step of your process should set the stage for your retention strategy and focus on a "service" theme. For example, the theme might include these types of actions:

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