The surge process recaptures the time required for truly special client attention and advice. When an advisor like Adam streamlines and systematizes the standardized tasks that consume attention and staff time, his time and attention are refocused to the personal aspects of the agenda.

With these changes, Adam’s practice doubled in 15 months and in three years nearly doubled again. He is enjoying his practice more than ever. His podcast educates optometrists in a digital format, delivering information that will prompt those in need of advice to call, which forms a steady stream of qualified prospects. His CRM is littered with data on each client, integrated into every aspect of the client experience. His service menu is built on the specific needs of optometrists, with tailored service strategies, meeting models and surges to address both their personal and professional needs.

Adam is delivering on the tenets of financial planning plus a highly specialized experience that delivers deeper value and truly differentiates him in the marketplace.

Can larger firms "scale special" in the same way? Over the years, I've addressed this challenge by focusing on sub-specialty service models for larger, general practices that don’t have one specific set of clients. The strategy is a strikingly simple core-plus-custom model. You have one standardized set of services and touch points common to all clients. Then you have an additional set of services for each sub-specialty within your general client base. The firm may serve retirees, doctors, independent women, executives, salespersons, creatives and educators. Each specific service model for these client segments comes on top of the core set of common services. This model is standardized and systematized, uses technology to the utmost and—voilà!—you have found a way to create a firm that is both general and specific.

This sub-specialty strategy may not produce the same level of hyper-performance that a true specialty or niche practice can. But when you're driving scale, capturing 70% of that specialization is more than enough to drive steady growth and find increasingly satisfied clients. The next best thing is to have each advisor within your practice own a specialty, as large law firms do, so that you can not only service your clients in a specialized way, but also attract new ones easily by marketing in a tailored way as well.

Imagine being the client of a firm that has an in-depth understanding of not only your balance sheet but also your personal and professional dynamics.

Imagine you’re the firm serving this client, having in your CRM a list of your client’s upcoming milestones, together with articles, books, gifts, communications and ideas specific to the client’s planning situation, profession, preferences, interests, hobbies, causes and people that matter to them.

Next, imagine that for your next client meeting, the agenda is drafted by the technology, with the client’s personal talking points prepopulated into the agenda as well as other items of interest for you to accept, replace or decline. Here you can concentrate all your time on your clients and the advice they need, not on collecting the information for the meeting.

Whether you own a small solo firm seeking a greater level of success or a larger firm striving to drive growth without losing that special touch, the answer to staying ahead of the success curve isn’t to resist the forces we face, but to welcome the opportunity these changes ultimately create.

Stephanie Bogan is a business strategist and success coach. For information on Limitless Adviser Coaching visit You can follow Stephanie on LinkedIn, Twitter at @steph_bogan or reach her at [email protected]. To receive Stephanie’s free Client Meeting Surge training, visit

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