Three Areas Financial Advisors Should Focus on for Clarity

In the pursuit of more, it’s easy to go astray.

As you look to grow your business (and self) it’s easy to get paralyzed from uncertainty. In an effort to avoid doing too much of the wrong things and too little of the right things many people do nothing. Nothing is never a good growth strategy.

About 90% of the time when financial advisors come to me they simply want me to tell them what to do. They have the will and energy to run at goals but have no idea where to start or how to best get there. 

If this sounds familiar don’t despair. 

Clarity on “what to do” begins with these 3 areas:

  1. Business goals – what do you want to achieve?
  2. Target audience – who is going to help you achieve those goals?
  3. Resources – what are your current strengths and opportunities?

When you’re looking to get very tactical, to answer the question, “What do I need to do today (or this week)?” you need to know how to break your big goals into smaller goals. 

For example, if you want to add $20 million in new AUM with new clients with at least $1 million in investable assets you need to be explicit about those goals. 

Step one, get very clear about what you want to accomplish. 

Step two, to further narrow the best approach, get clear on your ideal client(s). 

Documenting your one to three ideal clients can be difficult. Many people have a hard time limiting their audiences due to fear of turning someone away. You can still serve other audiences. However, to increase your chances of success with your ideal client you need to focus on them, not everyone. The narrower your targets the better.  

Marketing and development that’s too generic will be a waste of effort. You can speak to a discrete group effectively but not to everyone. 

Focus on narrowing groups by common fears, needs and challenges. Don’t stop at demographics, industry or job title, there are many ways to define target groups beyond those three things. Women, pre-retirees and retirees are not target groups, they are demographic groups – go deeper.  

Step three, further focus on the right approach and activities by reviewing your resources – strengths and opportunities. You have limited time, money, expertise, network and know how. Always start with what you have and know.

Consider these two scenarios, which is more solvable?

1. I want to grow as much as possible over the next year

2. I want to grow by $20 million over the next year with high-net worth families, specifically pharmaceutical executives who have income complexity related to their compensation packages. They are busy and want to ensure they are meeting their family’s financial needs today and in the future. I have a handful of clients that meet this description and work with professional partners who also serve this audience. As a CFP, I have planning expertise and have a capable planning platform to do goals-based modeling. I am familiar with the compensation options at three of the large pharmaceutical companies, and have worked with executives at all three. 

With the additional clarity provided in scenario number 2 you can start to come up with tangible next steps. 

A good place to start to take action is to think about the small but important goals that you need to accomplish to help achieve the larger goals. 

For example, if you want to raise $20 million from families with $1 million in investable assets you need to bring on 20 new clients over the next year. In order to bring on 20 new clients you may need to meet with 40 qualified prospects (assuming your close rate on qualified prospects is 50%). How are you going to get 40 meetings with qualified prospects (which ends up being about one meeting a week)? What can you do this month to get in front of four qualified prospects this month?

There are a lot of things you could do to get four meetings a month. Your existing strengths and opportunities (i.e. your network, professional partners, clients, content, etc.) should dictate where you start. 

The path of least resistance is always the best option. The warmer the leads from the beginning the better. However, in some cases it won’t be clear, you may need to look to cold prospects, which will require more effort and a larger quantity of leads to meet your goals. 

Your goals, ideal client profiles and existing resources will help narrow your approach and provide concrete guidance to the things you need to do short-term.  

Start with what’s obvious, try, learn and grow from there. 

Related: How to Use Objections to Inspire Action