In the world of business advisory, the ability to ask powerful questions sets successful advisors apart. These questions have the potential to uncover hidden opportunities, identify critical challenges, and drive meaningful results for clients. One tool that can significantly enhance the effectiveness of discussions with prospects and clients is the Succession Matrix®. Developed by The International Succession Planning Association® Board, the Succession Matrix® is a philosophy derived from extensive research and collaboration with experts in various fields. These experts include financial planners, family therapists, management experts, attorneys, and CPAs. The matrix delves into the key issues that impact succession planning, business value, and the creation of sustainable businesses.
The Succession Matrix® may appear simple at first glance, with its collection of ten elements. However, beneath this simplicity lies a complexity that holds immense value for business advisors. By understanding and leveraging the matrix, advisors can establish lasting relationships with business owners, driving personal and business growth. Joe Girard, a highly regarded sales coach at Change Grow Achieve, has closely collaborated with the succession planning experts at The Rawls Group for years. Through his experience, he has witnessed the true power of the Succession Matrix®. Girard emphasizes that the matrix’s strength lies in its universal truths—non-negotiable elements that significantly impact every business, particularly in succession planning.
One of the primary challenges advisors face is shifting the conversation from focusing solely on individual problems to encompassing the broader strategic picture. Many clients struggle to see how various aspects of their businesses are interconnected. Advisors must guide the conversation toward a 360-degree holistic approach to overcome this challenge.
The Succession Matrix® provides advisors with a framework to explore each of the ten areas, enabling them to achieve this goal. These areas act as windows into the soul of a business, revealing critical issues, obstacles, and desired outcomes. On the left side of the matrix, advisors often encounter “pink elephants”—uncomfortable topics that business owners prefer to avoid. These topics may involve interpersonal dynamics, family conflicts, or other issues impacting personal and business success.
By delving into these crucial yet challenging areas, advisors can assist business owners in navigating them and uncovering potential solutions. The matrix allows for a comprehensive business exploration, addressing its financial and interpersonal aspects. This deep understanding enables advisors to ask powerful questions regarding implications and connections, highlighting how issues in one area can impact others. Kendall Rawls, Director of Development with The Rawls Group, emphasizes the value of SPIN (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-Payoff) selling in these conversations. She stresses the importance of asking thoughtful questions that lead to profound insights rather than relying on surface-level inquiries. By focusing on the interconnectedness of the ten areas, advisors can anticipate needs and help clients reframe their perspectives.
The ultimate goal is to foster trust and build long-term relationships. By asking the right questions, advisors demonstrate their expertise and ability to provide valuable insights. This approach goes beyond solving immediate problems; it empowers advisors to think strategically, identify potential future needs, and position themselves as trusted partners.
The Succession Matrix® empowers advisors with the flexibility to position their products or services effectively across various domains. By guiding clients through thoughtful questioning, advisors help them recognize the specific areas where they need assistance. This approach transforms transactional interactions into meaningful engagements that solve critical issues. With the in-depth knowledge provided by the Succession Matrix®, advisors can engage in more productive conversations with their clients. They develop a comprehensive understanding of the complexities and interdependencies within their clients’ businesses. This knowledge enables advisors to tackle challenges with a genuine desire to serve, offering customized solutions or collaborating with a network of experts if needed.
Enhance your interactions with prospects, clients, and referral networks through deeply understanding the Succession Matrix®. By utilizing your knowledge to create impactful questions, business advisors can discover untapped opportunities, overcome obstacles, and forge enduring relationships with clients. The matrix sheds light on the interconnections within a business and enables advisors to anticipate future needs, positioning them as trusted partners in guiding businesses toward sustainable success. With the Succession Matrix® as your guide, you can truly become a master of asking powerful questions.
For more information, visit: https://ispassociation.org/blog/understanding-the-succession-matrix
Written By: Kendall Rawls
Kendall Rawls is the Director of Development for Rawls Succession Planners and the International Succession Planning Association.