Take Your Business Off Auto Pilot and Achieve a Breakthrough
As 2013 winds down, you are probably spending a fair amount of time on strategic planning, goal setting and trying to determine how to take your business to the next level as you head into a new year. Chances are you are probably kicking your own tires a bit assessing how close the results you achieved in 2013 lined up with the goals and objectives you established this time last year. Did 2013 play out as you had hoped? Did you meet, exceed, or fall below the goals you set for yourself? Notwithstanding some natural lift that came from the surging markets, many advisors I asked those same questions to, told me they’ve hit a plateau.
Do You Have 1 Year of Experience 15 Times?
Whenever I talk to an advisor who has stalled, I ask a lot of questions related to the steps they are taking to elevate their skills. Specifically, I’ll ask them if they invest as much time refining their practice management and client acquisition approach as they do studying and refining their approach to asset management. More often than not, the advisor will reveal that he or she is a serious student when it comes to enhancing their knowledge about investing, yet locked in the status-quo when it comes to relationship management and business development. They are basically repeating the same practices but hoping for different results. (I believe they have a term for that.) It’s true that there really is a fine line between being in a rut, or being in a groove.
Sure there is a time and a place for the “If it ain’t broke…” mantra but in business we have to be committed to continual refinement and optimization. The velocity of change, the intensity of competition, and the increase in volatility requires that we continually look for ways to elevate our approach.
Be Positioned For Anything and Everything
There is so much out of your control in this business. When you create a vision for the future and you drive it with specific actions that are within your control, you put the odds in your favor and lower the risk of being at the mercy of things out of your control. You undoubtedly have some short and medium range goals, and also have some “Ideal Life” big picture goals. These are ultimately what you want to achieve “When I grow up” as one advisor I know puts it. Bottom line is, if you want your outcomes to change, your actions have to change. Compounding alone won’t do it. If you want to break the mold, get more fulfillment from your business, and ultimately ride it as a means to an end to others areas of enjoyment in your life, allow me to remind you of three Key Performance Indicators that the perpetually effective and limitless advisors focus on and refine. And keep in mind, these are learned skills. You have some innate skills and qualities that come easy to you, but ultimately everything you need to refine to achieve a breakthrough can be learned:
One advisor said it best recently, “I’m good at math but lousy at English.” I’m not trivializing your ability to discuss algorithms or provide perspectives on market timing or whatever expertise you possess, but you have to remember that most of your clients empower you to deal with that. They like to know that you know, but they don’t need to know everything you know. To paraphrase legendary personal development guru J. Douglas Edwards, “98% of success is in understanding people and what they want, while about 2% is product knowledge.” That might be an oversimplification but I’ve seen time and time again how there is often little correlation between how much someone knows about financial services and how successful they will ultimately be. Often the key that separates the best from the rest is the ability to communicate effectively. A personal branding strategy, a compelling value proposition, and well-crafted messaging, speaks to people at a deeper level and elevates you from the pack so that you are never swimming in a pool of sameness.
2. Run Your Business Like a Business
As each year goes by you want the equity value in your business to increase based on two factors: your production and your processes. A process driven business creates predictability and efficiency. Repeatable procedures create a consistent experience for clients that enhances loyalty, empowerment and advocacy. Streamlined systems and a focus on efficiency, increases capacity and creates liberation and order. A top advisor with 300 clients doesn’t have 300 different portfolio platforms. Top advisors don’t trade time-for-money operating out of their heads. Process is the key to higher production, greater profitability and fulfillment. And ultimately, your business is far more valuable when it comes time to sell it.
3. Client Acquisition Consistency
The life blood of your business is the continual revenue generated by your clients. The key is to find a balance between contentment and aspiration. Top advisors never take their foot off the gas when it comes to client acquisition. For some, this means that the number of clients doesn’t change much year over year but the quality is continually progressing. Natural attrition and occasional right-sizing based on ideal client fit, is off-set by continually raising the bar that defines an ideal client. This enables you to project scarcity and create an environment where clients appreciate belonging in your community and prospective clients aspire to belong.
For other advisors with more traditional client acquisition goals, they understand that they need to keep putting prospective clients into the funnel using a professional linked and sequential DRIP process rather than a random “spray and pray” approach. Once they are in the funnel, a fit process that attracts prospects rather than chasing them, ensures that they move from the funnel, into the pipe, and then into your on-boarding process. Not only does this ensure that new clients feel accomplished when they come on board (instead of being sold something), they are on the fast track to advocacy as well.
If you would like to discuss your goals and define Key Performance Indicators in your business as they relate to client acquisition, branding, and creating repeatable processes, schedule an introductory call with me. In our call we can discuss your situation and help determine if our coaching process would be a good fit for helping you achieve a measurable breakthrough in 2014. To arrange a conversation with me, call Scott Simpson toll-free direct at 1.800.625.6850 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will arrange a time that works for us both.