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How to Communicate a Change of Hands to Your Staff

by | Nov 9, 2019 | Blog

You’ve done it! You’ve made a move to acquire another practice or to sell yours. The details are ironed out, paperwork is signed, and the deal is done.

If you’ve been upfront about your vision for the future, your team will be more prepared for the news. If the other advisor or advisors have been forthcoming with their plans too, their team should not be in shock either. Sharing your vision for the future is considered a best practice of leaders. The more you partake in communicating your vision, the easier it is for your team to adapt to change.

“It’s really important to have a very clear communication strategy that includes a documented timeline of events,” explains Cathy Fenimore, a business development consultant with Financial Advocates. “Identify who will be responsible for what, who to contact, benefits of the transition, not just for employees but for clients as well, and always make sure key employees and clients get notified first.”

When it comes to buying or selling a practice, there is much to consider beyond the financials. You’ve looked for a match where your team’s strengths complement another team’s and vice versa. Talk about your team’s strengths, talk about the other team’s strengths, talk about how the combined group will further benefit the practice and your clients. You know what’s in it for you, so be sure to communicate what’s in it for them too!

Next, communicate the transition process and what you expect of the team during the transition. The more specific you can be with what is going to happen, the better. Come up with a list of questions they may have in advance of the meeting and distribute the FAQ at the meeting. Don’t make promises you can’t keep; even with questions that may be difficult to answer. If you don’t know the answer, say you don’t know. However, it’s best to be over-prepared! Eradicate ambiguity and you’ll put all parties at ease.

Respect culture and history. Each firm is unique with differing values, practices, attachments, and overall personalities. Communicate that it takes time to develop a new normal with your staff. Allow them to have input as to what they feel is most important regarding their culture and history. Honor what is shared and seek to find ways to preserve what is most important.

If you are acquiring a new team, encourage involvement from the sellers for a set amount of time during the transition. If you are retiring or moving on to a new venture, be available to your team to help ease the transition and assist when appropriate.

Be as professional as possible with your approach. Your communication should include a PowerPoint presentation to help everyone on the team better absorb the details. Be sure to conduct a practice (or pre-conversation) session with the other advisors involved and outline which areas each person is best suited to discuss.

For professional guidance on succession planning, work with a professional like us. To learn more about Financial Advocates’ succession planning services click here.


The information provided here is for general information only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized advice.

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