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Commerciality in a client-centric world

What is it?  Why now?  Why do I need to be commercial?  Why do so many people struggle with it? And isn’t it really cross-selling with a fancy new name? These are the type of questions we are regularly asked by our clients when the subject of “Commerciality” comes up.

This article by Ben Kent and Andy Smith tries to answers these questions and looks at: what is commerciality, why do advisers need to be more commercial now and how can that be achieved.

Defining the amorphous - a definition of commerciality

Defining the amorphous – a definition of commerciality

If I asked you and a group of your peers to create a definition of commerciality then it’s likely that after much head scratching the responses would be more questions rather than answers.  Like ‘innovation’, or ‘creative’, ‘commerciality’ as a term is fairly amorphous and means different thing to different people and often depends on the context of the moment.

As terms, they’re all aspirational and have positive connotations.  It’s therefore not surprising that people and organisations like to proclaim proudly that they are ‘innovative’ or ‘commercial’.  In reality though, the real success stories in these areas are acknowledged as such by others rather than themselves.

However, without clarity around what it looks like and feels like to achieve success, it’s difficult to get there and be recognised for it.

In creating the ‘7 habits of a commercial advisor‘ we have used insights from both clients and advisors to create a layered framework that at the top level identifies seven areas that can lead towards success.  In order to then link the ‘7 habits‘ to actionable improvements we have identified competencies for each habit, and defined what it means to attain differing levels of maturity in each.

In short we have created a robust, consistent framework that can be applied throughout the life-cycle in order to, for example:

  • understand what you client means when they identify ‘commerciality’ in client feedback
  • provide a consistent language for conversations with clients and demonstrate that action is taken based on client feedback
  • turn client feedback into actionable feedback and measurable improvement plans
  • focus, tailor, and measure investment in L&D
  • provide a mechanism to help align your firm with your clients such that you’re seen as ‘easy to do business with’

The ‘7 habits‘ framework is simple enough to be memorable, yet deep enough to provide robustness and consistency.