“What are some of the best practices you’re seeing of top wealth management teams?” asked Johann, a senior partner of one of the teams participating in a group coaching session. A good question that becomes even more revealing when you learn that Johann’s team was already a “top team” by most standards. It’s a perfect example of the best working to get better.
In thinking through a proper response to his question, which is more than I was able to provide him that session, I thought it would be helpful to put some of these on paper for others to read through as well. All of this might appear basic at first glance, but what appears simple is rarely ever easy. It’s all in the nuance.
Proactive Leadership — This is the heart and soul of today’s top wealth management teams. Although many of these team leaders, or partners, could comfortably retire, like Johann, they are working harder than ever dealing with all the changes that were thrust upon them by the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s important to understand is that each of the following traits involves team leaders. They are more engaged and hands-on than ever.
Vision — Because a crisis is the breeding ground for opportunity, these wealth management teams have made adjustments to their visions, often multiple adjustments. They have a vision for client acquisition, for client service, and for the evolution of their team. Top teams are constantly adjusting their vision.
Optimism —When everyone thinks the “sky is falling,” having a team leader with a positive can-do attitude is essential. Negativity gets most of the air-time. Leaders and senior partners of top teams recognize the importance of counteracting any noxious overtones. In a way, elite wealth Mmanagement teams have metaphorically “circled the wagons.” Whoever encounters a problem is empowered to find a solution. The can-do-attitude is contagious. Soon, everyone is pitching in and working towards the team’s adjusted goals. In today's top teams, there is no place for cynicism, negativity or complacency.
Communication —I’ve always been suspicious when hearing “we talk with each other every day” as a reason for not holding team meetings. Team meetings are critical to internal communication, which breeds the can-do-attitude, reinforces goals and establishes accountability. Internal communication ensures everyone understands their role, the team’s mission and current goals. Communication must be clear, concise, constructive and involve proactive listening.
Role Clarity Adjustments — In the midst of a crisis, roles need to be revisited and adjusted. Perhaps an internal support person is making client calls to check in on their family and sourcing names of people within a client’s sphere of influence that could possibly become prospects. Maybe another team member is overseeing the virtual set-up of each team member’s home office and monitoring the new hybrid world of socializing with clients and COIs. For elite advisors, they’ve probably updated and are overseeing the revised client experience and expanded their social media footprint and marketing in order to better reach their clients and prospects.
Revised Marketing Strategy & Execution —This was the area Johann was focused on. In our opinion, it’s a hybrid model of traditional, relationship-based prospecting combined with a carefully crafted social media strategy. Top teams are using social media to position themselves as thought leaders in their communities. Using various combinations of content marketing, Facebook ads, LinkedIn posts, and video, these teams are looking to broaden and expand their social footprint. They recognize that today’s affluent have developed the habit of spending more and more time on social media and they’re committed to staying top of mind. By the way, according to his coach, Johann’s team is now incorporating social media into their marketing strategy.
Obviously, I’m just scratching the surface of what today’s top wealth management teams are doing, but you get the idea. They’re totally focused on this new world we’re all living in and making the necessary adjustments. All of which is quite fluid as they’re focused on growth.
Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients. www.oechsli.com