Rio de Janeiro-based Global Index International is not one of the offshore market’s biggest advisory businesses, nor have we ever tried to be. Instead of aiming to be as big as possible, we have sought instead to give our clients the kind of service we would want to receive if we were in their shoes. This approach means we have been able to build our business almost entirely on personal referrals from satisfied existing clients.
Strategy in action
Our strategy is twofold. First, we invest heavily in client service by hiring plenty of top-quality staff and giving them the best systems we can find to do the job.
Having realised some years ago that we would not be able to count on the major offshore life and investment companies to provide us with the kind of client-friendly information and materials about their products we would have liked them to, we set about creating our own.
We did this by hiring specialist personnel to help our clients understand these products, while at the same time developing a bespoke in-house software system that complements and reinforces the product messages being delivered to our clients and potential clients.
As a result, we are able to make potentially dull, but critically important, client investment information come alive in a way that even the life companies themselves can only dream of, certainly in the offshore market. We call this our ‘Globex system’ and, since 2012, we have been able to provide it to all our clients in some 62 countries around the world.
The second part of our strategy involves cultivating referrals, the lifeblood of most advisory businesses, without which we would struggle to grow.
Happy, well-informed clients are not only a pleasure to deal with, they are more likely to invest more with you in the future and, crucially, to refer their friends and colleagues to you.
Not passively waiting
We are not, though, entirely passive on this front, simply waiting for new clients to land in our collective lap.
Instead, we like to ‘go through the front door’, by which we mean we actively approach and get introduced to CEOs and human resource managers of major employers of expatriates, in order to explain how we work and how we can be of assistance to their international staff.
Once these CEOs and HR managers see we are not just another product-pushing sales operation, they often invite us to conduct seminars for their employees on a range of personal finance topics.
A cornerstone of our referral-inviting strategy that I haven’t yet mentioned but which is key, is that we treat every client as though he or she were our wealthiest and most important in terms of business generated.
A ‘small’ client who loves the service he’s getting will often refer a number of acquaintances to us, one of whom may be his boss, who, in turn, recommends us to his boss.
Recently, for example, we had a client in São Paulo, an employee of an oil-extracting multinational, who could afford to invest just a few hundred US dollars a month with us. However, he was extremely pleased with our service, and recommended us to his boss, who then started investing with us but at a far higher level.
This gentleman went on to recommend us to the company’s HR director. Not only did she become a client as well but she proceeded to set up a corporate account with us on behalf of the company’s employees.
Meanwhile, this arrangement has been replicated by a number of other companies that also now number among our clients.
At this rate, Global Index International may well end up becoming one of the offshore market’s largest advisory businesses after all.