While technology is changing the way accountants and advisers operate, there’s no replacement for human connection. Count Pinnacle Award winner Bob Reus explains why a clear value proposition and strong personal relationships are still the recipe for success.
As founder and principal of Bob Reus & Co, Bob has been a valued member of the Count family for over 20 years. He was recently awarded the Pinnacle Award in recognition of his considerable contribution to the Count community and the broader advice profession.
What’s the secret to your firm’s success?
It’s about putting in the work upfront to define the value proposition and understand what each client wants. Our value proposition is shown to the client right from the get-go, and then we develop a bespoke solution for every client. That way, the value concept translates into a very specific and personalised plan.
Our approach keeps our clients happy and gives us lots of referral business – they go away and talk to friends about how we’ve helped them, which means most of our growth comes from our existing client base.
How do you drive efficiency within your business?
Through all the coaching Count has provided over time, our staff have become extremely well-trained. As a result, we have a very loyal team who have been with me a long time.
We’ve also created efficient business processes, and all those things just add up. The objective has been to develop systems that make the business fairly independent of a specific leader, while still keeping it as a family business.
How do you build strong relationships with clients?
As well as our annual reviews, we contact clients at least two or three times a year so that we’re across their changing financial needs and can provide real value in the reviews.
We’re flexible in how we see clients: we do phone and Skype interviews as well as in-house reviews, and we may even go to a client’s house to do a review there.
We’ve always emphasised that their financial plan isn’t a one or two-year strategy, it’s a long-term strategy – and that’s helped us maintain those relationships, even in tough times. Whenever the market drops for a while, the clients trust us to know what we’re doing.
What does the support of Count mean to you?
Count provides such great opportunities. They have Practice Development Managers, training and coaching, seminars, conferences and PD days – it’s all there.
And it’s important to make the most of what’s on offer: if you don’t use their resources properly, you’re not going to get anything out of them. So it’s a matter of taking advantage of those opportunities to help grow your business.
Where do you see the profession heading in the future?
I think that stricter regulations are all for the good – because you do need formal qualifications and bodies out there to keep an eye on what’s going on.
There will always be new challenges, such as changes in government, and it’s difficult to predict what’s going to happen in the future. But there are so many intricacies to financial planning, which means there will never be a situation where financial planners aren’t needed. It’s a dynamic industry and it’s going to continue that way.