Cleveland: "I've been through process training, practice management workshops and personal coaching," says Gerry. "Maybe it's me—but I'm not happy with the growth of my business."
Let's get something straight: Hiring a coach, attending a workshop, implementing a series of policies and procedures—these things are no guarantee that you will realize your potential as a financial advisor.
In Gerry's case—similar to that of many other advisors—he had become distracted by his search for the silver bullet. He wanted that magic answer, the one idea, that perfect coach, the ideal set of policies and procedures that would propel his business to the next level.
It's a bit ironic that we are the only species with the ability to make sound rational decisions, yet research shows that humans consistently make irrational decisions. And financial advisors are no exception!
To help Gerry think through his predicament, I tried to help him focus: I reminded him that if he wanted growth he’d better focus on growth. And that concentration should remain in place whether he is dealing with a coaching relationship, a practice management workshop or any other workshop he might attend. Of course, this is easier said than done.
Focus on Growth is a wonderful concept because it provides the "context" for every professional activity that you complete. It "frames" your business decisions and makes priority management much simpler. There are a number of variables that serve to cloud this context, which will ultimately become "speed bumps" to growth.
My intention is threefold: First, I want to make absolutely certain that your focus is clear and locked into the professional context of growth. Second, I need to re-walk you through your 21st Century Financial Practice, step-by-step. As you seek clarity, you will begin to identify the "speed bumps" that are holding you back. Third, I will ask you to create a simple action plan to overcome these obstacles, and then begin to operate within the context of growth.
Step One: Review your long-range business plan and 2008 Goals (Annual Metrics Scorecard). You want clarity on two fronts:
- Make certain your 2008 Goals are still linked to your long-range business plan.
- Check your progress towards accomplishing your 2008 Goals.
Step Two: Review your financial practice (we use the 21st Century Financial Practice model in an attempt to keep things simple). You want clarity and growth context in the following areas:
- Business Development Process
It is important that you have both a minimum and ideal affluent client profile. All external business development efforts (rainmaking) should be directed to the ideal. All existing clients should be upgraded to either ideal or minimum profile status.
- Financial Advisory Process
You need to have a client-centric process that addresses today's needs and wants of the affluent. Our research says the affluent want you to be their "go-to" financial coordinator overseeing the many dimensions of their financial affairs. This needs to be consistent throughout your client base.
- Operational Efficiency Process
You want Ritz-Carlton-quality service with FedEx efficiency for your ideal clients, and a scaled-down version for those who fit your minimum profile. Think in terms of having both “Platinum” and “Gold” standards of service.
- Client Loyalty Process
Your ideal affluent clients are your "acre of diamonds," as each has multiple centers-of-influence waiting to be penetrated. How quickly do you solve problems? How personalized is your service? How much time is spent schmoozing your top clients? What is your surprise-and-delight routine?
Step 3: Identify one action step for each aspect of your practice as outlined in step two. So, for example, you might:
- Source one name a day linked to one of your affluent clients.
- Begin organizing and coordinating all of the documents for your ideal profile clients.
- Develop two clearly distinct levels of service and segment your clients accordingly.
- Initiate a surprise-and-delight strategy for each ideal client.
Your action steps will vary, but the formula should always remain the same. Everything, every action you take, must be linked to attracting, serving and developing loyalty among affluent clients. Within this context you will have created clarity. Now, everything is focused on growth.
For more help on growing your practice, visit our FREE download page for a 15 minute webinar on The Perfect Storm for Rainmaking.
Once again, we want to thank all of you who have emailed comments and questions to us. We will continue to do our best to answer each one. If you have any topic suggestions or special requests, please contact Rich Santos, publisher of Registered Rep. and Trust & Estates magazines, at [email protected].