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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Cochrane

What Underlies Your Clients Decisions

We just finished up a distributor interview project. The scope of the study was having conversations with retail distributors and their supervisory broker dealer, RIA or IMO. The goal of the study was to determine why a competitor was gaining significant traction and starting to cut into our client’s market share. The product people and analysts had sliced, diced, and put the competitors offerings under a microscope. They knew why their product was better and didn’t see why their market share was beginning to erode.

The client hired us to talk to their distributors and their supervisory firms. They wanted to understand why the competitor was picking up some business that traditionally would have gone to them. And, how to address issues leading to this erosion. What we found were subtleties that wouldn’t have been exposed in an online survey.

Here’s where we focused. First, we sought to understand the advisor. The advisor’s practice, goals, clients and how our clients products worked in the practice. Putting the advisor’s responses in context is crucial to qualitative research such as this.

Then we sought to understand their perceptions of our client and the competitor firm. What made the competitor win business. Were there issues with our client. If so, what were they? In their mind how did the competitor improve their clients’ experience and their practice.

Finally, we delved into the qualitative elements. How were their interactions with our client? Is it a people issue? How does the onboarding process differ. Was past experience influencing their decisions? Does financial strength matter and to what degree? What about technology? How important is it relative to other elements influencing their decisions?

I’m happy to say, we were able to unearth insights previously unknown to our client. Many issues they could deal with in a relatively short time period. The balance will influence their longer term strategy and shorter term tactics as they move forward.

This is why we talk to our clients’ audience. We seek to reveal context, perceptions, feelings, and emotions that underlie their decisions.

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