Fewer clients can make you more money

by Nicolas Heffernan20 Mar 2015
It may sound like anathema to advisors, but fewer clients can make you more profit.

At least that’s the strategy of Francois Langlois, a Montreal-based advisor, who has only 70 clients, compared to the industry average of 250-300, yet was one of Manulife’s top brokers.

“It’s a question of numbers and our most precious commodity, which is time,” he said. “So having 70 people to take care of means that I know 70 stories perfectly.  It permits me to be available. So it’s a conscious decision I’ve made and it’s a slow process, over 20 years you have to go it slowly but I would recommend that.”

It seems to be working. Last year was his best year in the industry with regards to business, client satisfaction and growth, as Langlois finished the year ranking in the top one per cent of the firm, growing his business by over 25 per cent.

His practice is based on lessons from his father.                                                                    

“The two rules that my father taught me for success in this business are one you need to know your stuff perfectly and two you need to be available,” he said.  “So I’ve made myself available to clients and it’s proven to be a fruitful endeavor.”

He also tries to follows the 80-20 rule, with 80 per cent of his business deriving from 20 per cent of his clientele.

“I’ve always kept that in the back of my mind and I’ve never fired any clients, I just grew with them,” he said. “I made it a very personal relationship so to me they’re pretty much all friends.”

Langlois’ relationships have developed to the point where his clients will be among a group of 12 joining him on his next big adventure: climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. The Montreal-based advisor is only the third Quebecer to have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Everest and the other seven peaks.

He’s raised over $6 million I’m up to over 6 million for sick children and kids with cancer over the 10 years he’s climbed the peaks.

“They see my philanthropic work and so that really helps a lot,” he said. “It indicates to them what kind of person I am and gives them confidence. Then when they retire, like the ones that did last year, they go you know, I’d like to do this Kilamanjaro thing. I’ve been watching you now for 10 years and participating and I would like to do it. They got me for the first time.

“I’ll take them to live their dream and then they have to pay it forward to a charity of their choice. Each person has someone they want to give back to. I said I’ll share my knowledge but then I’m going to dig into your wallet and you’re going to have to write a check to your charity.”