During my years of coaching and consulting, I’ve discovered that the very best advisors are always looking to improve. You obviously are taking your business development seriously as well. So I’ve compiled a list of what I call “best principles” – strategies and attitudes to keep you focused on your execution.
- Accept that being a successful advisor is a state of mind. You simply need to understand that having a smaller client base and offering exceptional service just makes sense (it does). So commit, and give it time to take root and yield results.
- Get organized. Set up call rotations and meeting schedules using your CRM. It amazes me how many advisors fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to seeing clients. Never wait until a client needs to see you. You are the professional, and you dictate the process. Do dentists wait for you to come in with problem teeth? No. They keep you on a monitoring program. The same process should apply with your review meetings and telephone calls – imagine what kind of easy opportunities are just laying there, waiting for you.
- Create capacity. Run the numbers on your business. How full are you? Too full? You may not need to trim your client base, but you have to make sure you spend the right time with the right clients. Based on 200 household clients (HH, or individuals/families) and assuming it takes 800 hours a year to run your service matrix, your allotted service time should look like the following:
- Top 40 HH contribute 50% of your income, and deserve 10 hrs of time per year.
- Mid 80 HH contribute 35% of your income, and deserve 3.5 hrs of time per year.
- Bottom 80 HH contribute 15% of your income and deserve 1.5 hrs of time per year.
- Gain clarity. Most investors have a very limited understanding of the role/value of an advisor, as well as what the advisor specifically does. This is why most investors have more than one account or more than one advisor. They know that advisors manage other people’s money. But most advisors get a failing grade when it comes to truly explaining all that they can do, such as education funding, Will and estate planning, succession planning etc.
- Communicate more often. The more we are in touch with our clients – educating them, interpreting what is going on in the world, and how that may or may not affect their portfolios – the better. When events seem less critical or less of a surprise, logic and reason have a much better chance of coming out on top. Is there anything more emotional than people’s fear of losing their future?
- Profile and take action. It really doesn’t take much effort or money to demonstrate that you are paying attention and that you care. Set up some fields in your CRM to record any news your client tells you about his or her life outside of the portfolio. Maybe they are planning a trip to Napa; you can use Google to look up “7 things you have to see in Napa” and send that along. It’s cheap but cheerful, and it will go a long way to solidifying your relationships. Don’t spend a lot of money – just spend a little time.
- Create community by hosting a non-financial event once per quarter. You can link financial with non-financial if you prefer, but make sure the night is light and lively. Your clients want to be friends with you (yes, they do). They want to feel known. Show them you care by hosting an event, and get them talking.
- Ramp up your communication. Start now, and make sure you are in touch with your clients and LISTENING to what they are telling you.
- Give it away. Nothing feels better (ever) than helping someone out. Each Thanksgiving and Christmas or whenever a local emergency arises, select to work with the various charities that help families who are in need of money, meals, gifts or the necessities of life. Get your clients involved in giving. Imagine a toy mountain in your lobby and a fleet of clients driving around your city dropping off gifts to kids who need some care.
- Sharpen your axe. How many business books did your read this year to help you be a better entrepreneur? Go on, get inspired. There are millions of entrepreneurs around the world who are thinking exactly what you are thinking right now. You don’t really think you are the first person to have this problem, do you? Learn and be inspired by others.
Nothing builds your business more solidly than your existing clients and the people they speak with. Take care of them, and they will take care of you.