Achieving Success: It’s Not That Complicated

Everyone who enters the industry wants to become a successful financial advisor.  Experienced advisors seek to create a perpetual motion machine that keeps on growing and producing revenue.  Over the decades, the industry has changed a lot.  Several times people have predicted the demise of the financial advisor.  Ditto the accountant.  They were wrong.  The landscape might have changed, but the basics haven’t.

15 Rules for Achieving Success

It’s not a complicated process and hasn’t really changed that much over the years.

  1. You need a model.  There are all sorts.  100 clients averaging $ 1,000,000 in assets under management at a 1% rate is an example.  200 clients averaging a million dollars at 0.5% is another example.  Both would yield $ 1,000,000 in revenue.
  2. It all starts with planning.  You want each client to start with financial planning.  That’s likely the business model suggested by your firm.  It shows the whole picture.  It identified needs.  It identifies assets.
  3. You’ve got to get started.  The best place is your natural market.  You’ve heard that before.  Everyone needs to know Who you are, What you do and Why you are good.  You need to know Who they are, Where they work and What they do.  Build the list.  You will be tempted to take people off.  Don’t.  Everyone should have the opportunity to say no.
  4. You need a repeatable, reliable prospecting strategy.  Your natural market only gets you so far.  You need a way to keep the pipeline filled.  You need your own source of prospects and leads.  Find successful advisors in the office.  Ask how they are doing it.
  5. You can’t stop prospecting.  Prospecting isn’t like hazing when you join a fraternity. (That’s not done now, of course.)  Hazing was an unpleasant period you wanted to get behind you.  Prospecting is something that gets done every day.  You will find the really successful advisors at your firm stick to this rule.  Whatever has been working, keep doing it.
  6. Develop meaningful personal relationships.  Engaging with prospects is not a transaction with a winner and a loser. (The zero sum game.)  It’s meant to be collaboration, where to are acting in their best interests, helping them execute a plan that heads them towards their goals. 
  7. Focus on client results.  The relationship is important, but people who pay fees for a service want to see their money is well spent.  People on diet plans want to lose weight.  People who work out with personal trainers want to get stronger.  Focus on how they are doing through regular reporting, ideally face to face.  Do it even if the stock market isn’t cooperating.  Many people are natural optimists.  They want to see you are focused.
  8. Be accountable.  You’ve been focused on results, but you need to admit when things aren’t working out as planned.  Don’t assume your client won’t know.  When your ideas worked out, thank them for following your advice.  When you do your reviews, there will be positives along with negatives.  Optimists often focus on the positives, yet appreciate you recognizing where things haven’t worked out. 
  9. Consolidate assets.  As the relationship deepens and you demonstrate your accountability with those reviews, always be asking for more money,  They have assets elsewhere.  Make a case for bringing them over.  One strategy is to have a great idea that requires fresh money.
  10. Increase share of wallet.  You have been gathering client assets inhouse.  Look at your client’s other needs, like lending and insurance.  Work on bringing those in house too.  If they have a great relationship with you, it makes sense for them to do other business with you, especially if those other relationships are anonymous.
  11. Ask for referrals.  Ideally your client is happy.  They know what you do for them.  If not, remind them.  Let them know how you help other people.  Referrals can be viewed as two roads:  One road is asking who they know that needs help.  The more specific the scenario the better.  The other road is names you’ve researched whose lives might overlap with your clients.  “This is the type of person I might be able to help.”  You are seeking introductions.
  12. You need to focus on ringing the cash register.  There are plenty of distractions.  As you prioritize activities, ask yourself “How does this ring the cash register?”  When you talk with prospects, have a series of steps you proceed through that ends up with them becoming a client.
  13. You need to automate the process where possible.  Prospecting can be tedious.  So can keeping track of which clients and prospects have money coming available.  You need to determine what must be done by you and only you and what can be done by another or automated.  For example, sales presentations and closing need to be done by you because you are licensed and that’s a requirement.
  14. The end of the world is usually not the end of the world.  The stock market doesn’t go up in a straight line.  You know that.  You’ve heard the market goes up like an escalator and down like an elevator.  Take comfort in the market’s historically cyclical nature.  Although no one can predict the future, it’s been said the four most dangerous words on Wall Street are “This time it’s different.”
  15. Never stop learning.  Don’t assume you know it all.  New products are coming out all the time.  Often, they have been developed to meet consumer demand.  Learn about them.  Attend those meetings.  When clients ask about something they’ve heard about, you need to be up to speed.

Technology has changed.  Everyone hopes the business will magically get easier.  The steps to success have remained pretty constant.

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