In our industry, we have $100,000 independent financial advisors, $5 million independent financial advisors and everything in between. Where you fall in that range has a lot to do with how you spend your time.
Imagine there’s a table in front of you with a large glass jar, a scoop of pebbles, a water bottle, several rocks, and a handful of sand. If your goal were to fill the jar with each of those items, in what order would you fill it?
The most efficient way would be to put the rocks in first, followed by the pebbles, sand, and water. Top independent financial advisors know this intuitively. They take care of the rocks first which are the high impact activities for which they are singularly qualified. The remaining items—pebbles, sand and water—are simply “stuff” that they either delegate or eliminate.
To double your day, try to spend more time focusing on the rocks. Here are the top 10 rocks for a typical million dollar producer.
1. Reviewing client goals and objectives, managing assets, and research
As an independent financial advisor, these are some of your primary tasks.
2. Communicating with A+ clients
Your top clients want to stay informed. You can do that via the phone, e-mail, or regular mail.
3. Taking care of fitness
Yes, for many top independent financial advisors, fitness is a rock. By staying healthy, you’ll have the stamina and the energy to face each day with enthusiasm and confidence.
4. Sharpening the saw
Spending time on continuing education, new laws and strategies, and reviewing new products pays dividends.
5. Cultivating A+ referrals
Great service is not enough. You have to let your clients know you want referrals, train them to spot referral opportunities, and make sending referrals a part of your compensation.
6. Deepening A+ and A relationships
You don’t have to be all business. Spend time with your clients in non-business settings such as taking them out to lunch, playing a round of golf, or hosting a wine tasting event.
7. Developing centers of influence
A handful of centers of influence can make a dramatic impact on your business. Look beyond the obvious ones (CPAs, attorneys) and be creative. Try the head of your Chamber of Commerce or one of your town’s leading philanthropists.
By spending time planning your day, week, and month, you’ll stay focused and productive.
9. Delivering A+ and A client solutions
Explaining your recommendations, hand holding, and responding to questions are all important parts to building enduring relationships.
10. Meeting with staff
A regularly scheduled daily staff meeting will help reduce interruptions and increase your efficiency.
Top independent financial advisors will spend about 75% of their time on these ten activities. Notice that the activities are concentrated on the A+ and A clients. There’s nothing in there for Bs, Cs, and Ds. It’s the A+ and A clients that will help you take your practice to the next level. By focusing your attention on them, you can deepen your relationship, improve your service, and generate more referrals.
So what happens with your B, C and D clients? We don’t recommend that you fire them. They were there when you needed them so you shouldn’t cut them loose. Instead, consider hiring an Associate Wealth Advisor who can spend more time with them and do a better job profiling. More often than not you’ll find that more attention and better service will result in more business from these clients.
Now that you know what the rocks are, how can you more efficiently focus on them?
The single best idea we’ve come across to help you focus your effort is also one of the simplest. All you have to do is write down the six most important activities you have to accomplish each day in order of priority. We recommend you do this each evening before you leave the office. It does take discipline but by spending these few minutes each day, you’ll be focused and not waste any time trying to figure out what to do next.
Prioritizing this list is critical. Begin your day by working on the number one item. You may end up spending your whole day working on that item and if so, you should take comfort in knowing that you were focused on the single most important activity for that day. If you are in-between meetings or find you have a few minutes of time, scan your list and try to find an item that will take about as long to accomplish as you have time available. This may take you out of order but you’ll still be working on one of the day’s most important activities and you’ll be able to efficiently fill up your time.
Doubling your day is well within reach. The critical activities that will help get you there are: focusing on the rocks, developing a mission and vision, writing down your six most important activities in priority each day, and systematizing your practice. If you do these things, you’ll start getting twice the results without working additional hours.
For more information on Summit Brokerage Services, visit www.joinsummit.com or contact us at (800) 354-5528.