New York: “Your coaches have worked with lot’s of financial advisors, you’ve personally worked with elite teams, what’s the best CRM system you’ve run across?” asked Marc during the Q & A session following my talk.
This is a question we get frequently. And no financial advisor who asks it, including Marc, likes my response. Which is: The effectiveness of every CRM system on the market is determined by the end-user.
Oh sure, some have more bells and whistles than others (full disclosure - I’ve never seriously researched the CRM market), but the question bespeaks a much broader issue. An issue that sets elite financial advisors apart from the crowd – hint – it’s not their CRM.
What’s the elite financial advisor secret?
- Their ability to execute.
Financial advisors who are able to consistently execute the A to Z of running a financial advisory business are at the head of the class. Whether it’s their personalized client service model, operational efficiency, delivery of comprehensive wealth management services, or their marketing plan – the “X” Factor – the differentiator -- is their execution.
Rather than searching for the best CRM system, or the latest-greatest marketing idea, these elite financial advisors have become masters at doing-improving-doing. At a quick glance it might appear as more of the same, but under the hood there is a commitment to ongoing improvement. In other words, embracing the Japanese concept of Kaizen (ongoing improvement) by always striving to refine their execution. And yes, if they feel the need to update their CRM system they update their CRM. But they recognize, it’s not their “X” Factor.
Let’s take a look at the #1 complaint our research has identified regarding affluent clients and their financial advisor; communication. Today’s affluent clients don’t feel as though their financial advisor communicates with them enough. Some advisors are defensive, deny it applies to them (maybe it doesn’t), and some blame it on their assistant, others their CRM system. Yet, it’s a straightforward gripe.
Whether it’s a cell phone, landline, a non-business lunch, or a quarterly review – elite advisors are in close communication with their affluent clientele. This is a top priority. They’ve hired additional staff, organized roles and responsibilities accordingly, and created the bandwidth necessary to be able to do so. This is execution!
How about what is arguably the biggest challenge today’s financial advisors? Acquiring new clients, in particular new affluent clients. We’ve got both empirical data from our research and anecdotal evidence from our coaching. The SUCCESSFUL marketing tactics are basic and actually quite simple; personal introductions, referral alliance partners, unsolicited referrals (word-of-mouth influence), and intimate social events. Yet, advisors often stare in disbelief as if saying “That’s it?!?”
During this meeting where Marc inquired about CRMs, a manager asked the results a financial advisor could expect from our coaching program. When I responded with our individual advisor averages from 2013; $21 million in new assets and 20 new clients – I got an eye-roll and a cynical response “That’s more than any advisor in my branch – it’s hard for a cynic like me to digest.”
My response was measured, “It’s all about consistent execution, accountability, and skill development. Let us coach any of your advisors who are serious about growth – and you’ll see.”
As a sidebar, that cynical manager pulled me aside afterwards and apologized, explaining that he was a fan of our coaching and his comments were directed at a group of his advisors from his branch who were in the audience.
So the message for financial advisors who, like Marc, are looking for that “new best thing,” whether it’s a CRM system, marketing idea, or finding a catchy team name to brand is simple; stop looking and focus on better executing what is already in place. Execute consistently and employ the elite advisor concept of doing-improving-doing.
EXECUTION: Doing-Improving-doing -- is the true “X” Factor.
Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Centure Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients. www.oechsli.com