When two top RIA leaders tell me the same thing, I pay attention. In 2018, I did a podcast with top advisor Rebecca Rothstein and she said:

“We have an expectation of getting the first call and we get involved in all parts of their life. They need a doctor because they have something going on that's popped up. They're getting divorced, they want to be prepared. Their parents passed away. Anything you can possibly think of that wraps around somebody's financial life and their personal life that has extraordinary outcomes or circumstances that you weren't planning for and bumps along the road… We have to be all-hands-on-deck and prepared to deal with all of the things that emanate from that.”

Her firm manages billions out of Beverly Hills, CA for some of the top entertainers and creatives in the country.

Similarly, on my recent podcast with Eric Becker, co-founder of $40 billion RIA Cresset, he said:

“The best way that I can summarize all of it in one sentence is we want to be the first call. Whatever is important to our clients and their family, we want to be the first call. That is how we measure the relationship and the success that we're having in that relationship.”

The common thread connecting these two incredible RIA firm leaders is they have designed their firms to “be the first call” when their clients have something important happening in their lives.

And what that means is they asked themselves:
• Who are our ideal clients for whom we can be everything they need and want?
• What do we need to offer them?
• How do we deliver it?
• What should the client experience feel like?
• What are our standards of performance?
• How can we become indispensable in our clients’ lives?

It’s a simple idea that drives decision-making and organizes behavior toward a common goal.

Now, I'm not suggesting you need to have “be the first call” as your organizing principle. For those firms that do, it’s a full-on, comprehensive, all-hands-on-deck approach to working with clients that makes the most sense for firms serving wealthier clients who have complex needs.

For example, Eric shared with me how they helped clients who were stranded in Ukraine and Israel when war broke out:

“We had a client that had a loved one that found themselves trapped in Ukraine when the war started. And we ended up hiring a private contractor who went to Poland and then found them and took them to safety.

“We recently had a family who was taking their first trip to Israel, arrived on a Friday, and tragically war broke out the next day. And our team was working 24 hours a day over that weekend, got them to Turkey. Got them into a resort in Turkey so that they had a chance to decompress from all of that stress and then repatriated them back to the United States when they were ready to travel. So, it really means being there for our clients in these moments of truth.”

Eric’s firm has 450 employees and the connections and resources to pull off something like that. Few firms do, but that’s okay. You do you and be the absolute best at serving your ideal clients.

Take some time and ask yourself, If you had to come up with an organizing principle for your business, what would it be?

What is that simple statement that drives your organization to deliver exceptional outcomes for your ideal clients that is clear, concise, and that your entire team can rally behind?

It’s a great question to ask at your next executive leadership meeting.

Steve Sanduski, CFP, is a financial advisor business coach and the co-founder of ROL Advisor, a discovery process technology and training system. He’s also a New York Times best-selling author and host of the Between Now and Success podcast.