Your Key Metric: Return on Time

Your Key Metric: Return on Time

Chicago:       “I’m wasting my time chasing some of these prospects,” moaned Wally during a coaching session with one of our coaches, he then further explained his angst with “I’ve been chasing a guy for three years and I just learned that he doesn’t even meet my minimum.”

Over the past three years, Wally has brought in over $50 million in new assets and developed into a true rainmaker.  He’s become immersed in all of our high-impact relationship marketing activities (personal introductions, sourcing names, referral alliance partnerships, strategic networking, intimate client events).  Yet according to his coach, he’s still not using his time wisely.

I know, you’re probably thinking, “I’d love to have Wally’s time management problems.”  It makes sense to think that he should  continue doing the relationship marketing activities that have led to his rainmaking success.  However, time is a precious commodity for all of us, rainmakers included.  As Wally concluded with his coach, every advisor should be aware of his “return-on-time” – whether it’s servicing existing clients or prospecting.

Prior to becoming a rainmaker, Wally, like many advisors had reached a plateau and had a lot of time on his hands.  As he began developing into a rainmaker and found himself spending time navigating the affluent spheres-of-influence in his community and acquiring more affluent clients, he very subtly found his time getting squeezed.   It took an unqualified prospect that he’d been chasing to bring this to a head.    


Every advisor would benefit from joining Wally in paying attention to their return-on-time.  This goes beyond the time spent on relationship marketing; it also includes the time you invest in relationship management – the servicing of your existing clients.   

We are frequently asked about bandwidth; “How many clients can I properly service?”  Unfortunately there is no set answer, as this differs from advisor to advisor.  Profile of client, service model, revenue generated, number of team members, etc., all affect your bandwidth.  However, we have created a bandwidth calculator that can assist you in determining your “return-on-time” as you get a handle on your bandwidth capabilities. 

All of this begins with having a clear understanding of what you determine to be your high-dollar activities.   It’s been our experience that time spent in either relationship management or relationship marketing activities are high-dollar activities.  Wally’s problem was that he was not discriminating on “who” he was targeting in his relationship marketing, and had never bothered to calculate the time spent managing current client relationships.  And yes, the time your support staff spends servicing these clients is high-dollar time as well. 

Let’s begin with your top 25 clients.  Your first calculation involves determining the hours you’ve spent with each client in any capacity over the past year.  Your next calculation is to determine the dollar per hour you’re generating from each client. 

The following is an example of an advisor with 150 clients using our Platinum and Gold service models.  For the purposes of this illustration, we’ve used the example of an advisor who ranked his top 25 clients as Platinum and the remaining 125 as Gold.  We rounded off the revenue in an attempt to keep this simple; top 25 produced $800K, 125 produced $200K.   The actual figures were eerily close to that 80/20 breakdown.

Now for the hours invested per client…

At a quick glance, everything seems in order; Platinum clients are getting almost 3xs the attention than that of Gold clients.  But that’s extremely misleading.  As this advisor quickly discovered, 66% percent of his team’s time was devoted to clients producing 20% of their annual revenue, while only 34% of their time was with their top clients producing 80% of their revenue.  Ouch!

Although this example didn’t quite fit Wally’s situation, it got his attention.  Far too much time was being absorbed by clients that met his minimum but weren’t generating enough revenue to warrant his time.  His immediate response was to start searching for a junior advisor to manage his Gold clients and become myopically focused on replicating his top 25 clients in all of his marketing efforts.  Easier said than done, but at least he’s aware of the issue and has a plan.

Whether you’re a sole practitioner sharing an assistant or a rainmaker of Wally’s status, you will benefit tremendously by focusing on your high-dollar activities. 

Relationship marketing in affluent circles is a high-dollar activity, whereas chasing a prospect who doesn’t qualify is a fools mission. 

As you plan your upcoming week, think about how you can maximize your ROT – it’s your most precious resource and key metric.

If you’re interested in calculating your bandwidth and determining your “return-on-time” go to:

Matt Oechsli is the author of The Art of Selling to the Affluent.  His firm, The Oechsli Institute  does ongoing research  and coaching  for nearly every major financial services firm in the US.  To take the first step towards coaching, complete the pre-coaching business profile  for a complimentary consultation.



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