Your GP doesn't do house calls - why should you?

by Kathleen Payne,Mackenzie McCarty06 Jun 2013

One of the most powerful tools in business is the ability to say yes, to please your client base. But Jason Back, managing director of Australian Lending & Investment Centre (ALIC), says that sometimes ‘no’ can be just as powerful.

Yesterday’s article on ALIC director and broker, Mark Davis, had tongues wagging thanks to Davis’ statement that he refuses to do house calls for clients. In fact, Davis and co-director Back, believe this is one of the key reasons for their company’s success.

“If a client thinks you’re important enough, they come see you,” Davis told Australian Broker. “You build up the client’s mind-set that they have to come and see you. We set the expectation that, ‘this is a planning process, Mark’s diary is full and there is a wait-time’.”

Back says that this can apply to the whole financial services profession, including most other brokers.

“The finance industry needs to get a degree of self-worth,” he says. “We’re not door-to-door salesmen… You wouldn’t get a GP to come out to your house and do a ‘female test’,” he laughs,  “imagine getting them to come out to your house and you’ve got dogs barking and you’re getting dinner ready! It’s just not the right environment.”

“We do need to recognise the skills and the value that we add to our clients and that means meeting in place like an office space, which can be much more beneficial for the client experience.”

The time spent on call-outs takes away from valuable client engagement time, says Back. Initial client conversations can go on for a few hours, and there may be more than one meeting, so it’s important to be in an environment that generates great ideas, allows free discussion and holds the client’s attention.

The team is also particular about who they deal with professionally. They leave asset allocation and planning up to the specialists, but will not work with bank-aligned advisers, or those with less than 20 years’ experience.

Back says that it is important to find referral partners that are not looking for product sales, so that the client can pay for a great conversation without feeling like they have to buy a product. “They’re the type of advisers we’re going to be linking into and our clients are happy to pay for their advice.”