The One Client Mindset




The Harley Earl Story

Meet Harley Earl, the VP of Design at General Motors. It's 1938, and with the Great Depression fresh on their minds, many people were nervous to take risks. Designing a new car had a lot of risks, because whatever you made had to scale. Factories had to be retro-fit to produce thousands of your new car, and once it hit the showrooms there's still a chance no one would buy it.

But Earl found a way around that. He allowed himself the freedom to take away the mental and physical constraints, and financial risks. He created the first concept car- the Buick Y Job. And he built only one.

Without constraints from his company, the showroom, or the factory, he was able to innovate and created features that are still seen in modern cars, such as electric windows and door handles. In a few short years, Harley Earl was able to change what a vehicle could be.

But what does this have to do with wealth management?

Harley Earl

What do concept cars have to do with wealth management?

Harley Earl innovated and designed with a single customer in mind. His tinkering and creativity changed the future of cars by designing for one individual, and he was able to break boundaries and later apply innovations to a global scale.

We do this in our business all the time. We design client offerings as if they were our only client, dreaming big, and then finding ways to scale it so that every client experience is personalized and innovative.

And if you're thinking this is too "out there" or not applicable for you and your team- you're letting your clients down.

You need to think:

What if I only had one client?

The Four Steps To Embracing The One Client Mindset

Get the right people in the room

Decide who you are designing for

Dream and Design It


Get the right people in the room

Build a team who is curious and innovative. By having everyone on board with this philosophy, it is easier to work together and best serve your clients.

Plan in advance for the naysayers and, in the nicest way possible, politely kick them out of the room.  Keep people in the room who understand and appreciate the constraints and have the freedom to toss them aside.  You likely have someone in your office that is the leader of the can’ts. If you can’t think of that person in your office, it’s probably you.

Decide who you are designing for


Build a persona of your ideal client. They likely are nothing like you. They may be:

  • a married couple on the verge of retirement
  • the next generation of wealth
  • business owners
  • widows

Dive into the details and build a specific story. What do they do for fun?  What do they read? What’s their experience with investments? What do they fear? Use stock photos to help you dream up this client persona, and find the realistic, non-perfect ones.   With this persona you can clearly articulate who makes a good client, the client who can make the biggest impact. Find the client that you and your team can best relate to, and who can best relate to you.

Dream and Design It

Design and innovate as if you only had one client. You have unlimited time for them, and since they are your only client you not only know them personally, you:

  • know their family
  • work with their other advisors
  • know personal goals
  • reviewed their tax and estate documents
  • tailor their investments
  • educate them on their portfolio

Dream big and customize as if you only had this one client- and then take a step back. Think of all of the ways you could go above and beyond for your one client, then take a step back and look at how you could apply these innovations to the masses.

Rather than send every client a quarterly report, send them a report as often as they would like to receive it. If you had just one client, you'd likely customize performance reports to their preferences. But since you have more than one, instead of creating customized reports for every single clients, take a step back and create options. Can you create two report sets? Four? If you had just one client, they'd receive their exact, personalized report, on the schedule they desire. For 200 clients? 500? 1200? Give them options, and personalize for the masses.



Solve the problem of scale with people and technology.

People: You might need more people on your team to best serve your clients. Whether you had 100 clients per advisor, or 20, it's important to find the sweet spot where your team can effectively serve their clients, and know them personally. And the team that you build should not only have a variety of experiences and expertise, but they need to be curious, and willing to think outside the box.

Technology: You've undoubtedly heard of FinTech, but many people don't consider that FinTech should include any technology that helps serve your clients. It's more than just a rebalancer or CRM system. It's the tools you use to communicate with clients, to personalize their experience, and to best serve them.

A tool that we love that combines these? Snagit. Our team is able to engage our clients before they even step foot into our office by making a custom video that not only goes through our client portal, but specifically walks clients through their own portal. We can educate and engage clients with this simple tool, and it allows junior advisors the opportunity to connect with clients when they might otherwise have not had the opportunity.



How often do you meet with your clients? Annually? Quarterly? You might only have face-to-face time with them for two hours once a year, and it's essential that you make the most of it. By utilizing Snagit,you can create a personalized video for your client, walk through their portfolio and investments, send it to them ahead of time, and they will come to the meeting empowered and with questions.

Google Alerts

If you want to keep up to date with news about your clients, their company, or their interests, Google Alerts makes this possible without you having tocommit your mornings to skimming through multiple news papers.

Your team should be made up of curious, ambitious individuals. It is essential to empower your team so that they can thrive and best serve their clients. Lynda is a fantastic resource for video tutorials and online training on a wide range of software and technical skills – with thousands of courses on everything from how to learn Excel to how to leverage social media in your marketing strategy.

Questions? Comments? Confusion?

Shoot us an email at, and we'll be happy to clarify.