Many argue that there’s not a definite process to achieve success within your estate planning practice. I beg to differ. Not only can you follow the seven steps that I’m about to describe, but you can constantly repeat and upgrade them to attain your firm’s next level.
Step One: Developing New Proficiencies
Let’s suppose, for example, that you are becoming proficient not only with basic estate planning documents, but in crafting continuing testamentary trusts with embedded income tax planning, like Beneficiary Deemed Income Trusts, the use of Trust Protectors, and the creative powers of appointment. The first step is to become proficient in this area of your practice.
Step Two: Defining Motivation
While certain activities energize you and provide motivation, others sap you of energy. Defining your highest and best use provides insight into what tasks you need to focus on within your practice. At the same time, you’re discovering what motivates your clients to select the estate planning strategies that best fit their goals. Understanding what motivates your team is also crucial to your firm’s success. As you work through your newest proficiency, pay attention to these motivating factors.
Step Three: Building Support Team
Once you define the activities that motivate you, it’s time to build a support team that compliments your skillset. Placing team members in tasks they enjoy, and filling the holes you inevitably find, creates a stronger, more capable firm. You’re happier because other people are completing the tasks you find mundane.
Step Four: Systemizing Client Value
With the proper focus on the first three steps, you’re ready to put frontstage and backstage systems in place to continually provide a uniquely positive client experience that can’t be found anywhere else at any price. While every client’s plan is different, you’ve implemented client intake, drafting, review, signing, and client care systems that attract A+ clients and pay dividends well into the future.
Step Five: Packaging Your Wisdom
Now that you’ve systemized your client value proposition, it’s time to package it for sale. Selling a process is more client-friendly than selling a commoditized document or strategy. This includes developing brochures, books, white papers, podcasts, and other media that you’ll use to market your expertise. You’ll mine your existing client base, educate your centers of influence on your unique systems and processes, and use state-of-the-art social media marketing to get the word out to those who aren’t yet familiar with your firm.
Step Six: Self-Managing Practice
The goal of the five preceding steps is to create a self-managing practice. Everyone knows their role in your frontstage and backstage processes, is working within their highest and best use, leaving you to have the freedoms necessary to continually upgrade your client value propositions. The byproduct of all this success is increased revenue, profits, and team harmony.
Step Seven: Increasing Capabilities
The last step, increasing your firm’s capabilities, leads to the first step again, but with another capability – or two or three! Perhaps you’re interested in maximizing your Client Care Program, or in creating a system for advanced estate planning, or for your trust administration process. Your next orbit around the wheel will be at a higher level. Interestingly, the higher the orbit, the narrower your personal focus becomes, leading to greater freedoms.
In the next seven weeks, I’m going to dive deeper into each of these modules. Listen to the accompanying podcast episode for more.
To your bigger future,
Craig R. Hersch
Florida Bar Board Certified Wills, Trusts & Estates Attorney, CPA
Senior Partner, The Sheppard Law Firm
Founder, The Freedom Practice®
PS – You still have the opportunity to attend Practice Xcelerator™! We have an UNBELIEVABLE CURRICULUM? Attorneys from every corner of the US will be there! You’ll learn how to pull off each of these steps at this two-day live event!
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