Why sole practitioners shouldn’t hide themselves away
Written by Phil Bray on 21/06/17
We have worked with a wide range of businesses since we launched in January, from firms managing many hundreds of millions, to sole practitioners.
We love working with all our clients, but providing a high quality and bespoke product to sole practitioners (a section of the market that isn’t particularly well served by businesses such as ours) is especially satisfying.
In our discussions with these businesses, we are often asked how they should approach their sole practitioner status. I’ll admit to being rather surprised by the number who (initially at least) want to sit behind an anonymous brand and include no personal information on their website.
That’s a mistake.
Sole practitioners should celebrate their status; not try to hide it.
I’ve seen some advisers build overly corporate websites, trying desperately to mask the fact they are sole practitioners. But all a potential client needs to do is take one look at the FCA register and the pretence of being a larger business is blown. Worse still, it looks like the adviser is trying to hide something, which is never good, and does little for the adviser’s credibility.
So, celebrate the fact you are a sole practitioner and promote the benefits it brings to your clients.
Of course, some potential clients might want an adviser who works for a larger firm; they probably aren’t going to select you anyway. So, focus on those clients who want a more personal, bespoke service. Sure, there may be some additional work to convince potential clients that you have the infrastructure to service their needs. But this is easily addressed by talking about your:
- Authorisation status
- Network, if you are an Appointed Representative
- The compliance support you buy in if you are directly authorised
- The locum arrangements you have in place
- Areas of expertise and the niches you work in
- Ability to identify their financial problems, challenges and goals
- Qualifications, including (if applicable) your Chartered or Certified status and how this benefits your clients
I also recommend adding your SPS and a link to your page on the FCA register alongside personal information; family, interests, hobbies, loves and loathes. Plenty of potential clients will be interested.
Include your team too. Andy Murray and Lewis Hamilton are individuals but they both have large teams behind them. Many sole practitioners are the same, so include people such as:
- In-house paraplanners
- Outsourced paraplanners
They all form part of a group working on behalf of your clients to help secure their financial future.
Finally, include photos (video is even better) of you and your team; make it personal!
Invest the time
If you take the time to explain your business to potential clients, convey passion, show you can solve their financial problems and help them meet their goals, most people probably won’t care if you are a one-man band or an entire symphony orchestra.
If you are a sole practitioner, don’t hide it, embrace it, celebrate it and stand proud.