Houston: "It seems as though time moves at warp speed throughout the summer. College starts in mid-August and before you know it you're waiting for Labor Day Weekend. It's seems as though everyone has been distracted starting the second week in August," explained Mark in response to a question about his pipeline.
Mark has lots of company: his team members (partners and support staff), his clients (anyone with children and grandchildren), his CPA and JD referral alliances, and the prospects he's been targeting are all impacted in some way. I can relate as well. My son has been back at college for two weeks.
It's tempting to throw in the towel until after the Labor Day weekend, the official close of summer. Things are slow, people are getting ready for their last family outings and the beat goes on. Unfortunately it's this beat that causes many advisors to experience a post Labor Day swoon.
The following can help avoid this swoon, and like much of what's good for us, this is preventative. The idea is for everyone to engage in a bit of pre-Labor Day homework.
Start with your Metrics Scorecard (annual goals). Identify your most important metrics, compare your current number to your annual target and determine how you're tracking. Next select 1 - 3 essential metrics that need improvement. Although this might appear like a performance review, it's not. It's essential that every team member be fully aware of where the team stands relative to its annual targets, where the contributions have been coming from, what adjustments need to be made and by whom, and what specific action steps will be initiated on Tuesday, September 7th.
Pre-Labor Day Homework
Metrics Scorecard (sample):
New Clients ____ vs Annual Target ____ % of Target ____
New Assets ____ vs Annual Target ____ % of Target ____
Revenue % Fee-Based ____ vs Annual Target ____ % of Target ____
Expanding Wealth Mgmt Services ____ vs Annual Target ____ % of Target ____
Number of HHs ____ vs Annual Target ____ % of Target ____
Financial Plan Updates ____ vs Annual Target ____ % of Target ____
Financial Organizer ____ vs Annual Target _____ % of Target ____
Production ____ vs Annual Target ____ % of Target ____
Net Revenue ____ vs Annual Target ____ % of Target ____
Client Retention ____ vs Annual Target ____ % of Target ____
You get the idea. The objective is to make a thorough review of your practice year-to-date. From here, you can hit the ground sprinting after Labor Day by drilling down into just a handful of key metrics. The idea is to have everyone addressing the following...
*What are you doing well and why?
*What areas need attention now?
*What specific action steps need to be implemented to correct problems in that area and by whom?
*How are we tracking relative to our annual Metric Scorecard (goals)?
Let me share the story of one team. By focusing on just one metric, they involved the entire team and positioned themselves to take corrective measures that should have them sprinting through the fourth quarter. This team had lost three affluent clients over the past year, even though they were focused on the right rainmaking activities. It was obvious that their service model was the cause.
In their mea-culpa, the partners admitted that these good clients "were neglected" because they were easy to deal with.
This revelation led to a series of actions; the partners admitted they didn't know enough about their clients so they assigned their two assistants the task of creating a family profile for each of their top 50 clients. Each partner committed to touching base with 25 clients before Labor Day, attempting to uncover a little more personal information about those clients and, if possible, scheduling a social get-together (breakfast, lunch, drinks, dinner) after Labor Day.
As for their rainmaking (new clients were meeting their projections) each one of these social meetings was to be carefully crafted to serve a dual purpose; strengthen the relationship and penetrate their centers-of-influence.
As I write, these advisors are booked through September with these social meetings with their top clients. They will hit the ground running on September 7th. Their support staff is now working on a surprise and delight campaign for each family. All of these action steps will have a direct impact on the other metrics they want to improve: new affluent clients, new assets, and increased ongoing fee-based revenue.
Mark realized that he too needed to book his post-Labor Day calendar with client, prospect and COI meetings. It might be too late to book your September calendar, but everyone can do their share of the homework. This will enable you to drill down on a handful of specific metrics and you too can get into a post-Labor Day sprint.
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