Ed Note: This article is part of an ongoing series focused on the mistakes made by financial advisors.
Financial advisors have money on the line every day. If you don’t have a clear and immediate daily plan of action and are passively prospecting, you could be heading toward some serious trouble.
Top advisors work hard – they work a lot, but their work is focused. A successful advisor is characterized by someone with the drive and vision to do what they do. Their career doesn’t happen by accident, rather they strategize and plan. Creating a successful strategy allows advisors and their team to focus on the right customers the right way and at the right time.
Part of the planning and strategy comes from learning, which never stops. Successful advisors are voracious learners. They have multiple designations and licenses, and take time each day to practice and study their craft. Each day typically begins with reading – clients want an advisor who is well-read on current issues and ideas. This gets them into the mindset needed to focus all day.
Successful advisors do not let their day control them and instead take control. They block out their day so they can spend the right amount of time on each task. For these advisors, maintaining control of time means having the right processes in place.
The following are helpful tips that financial advisors should consider when creating their plan of action:
Set priorities. Beyond knowing where you’re going to be each day of the week, know how to prioritize your work. Pick the low-hanging fruit. Even when you’re grabbing the easy fruit, you want to nab the big apples and skip over the ones that may be right in front of your face but are small, rock-hard or full of worms. Leverage your relationships. Business is about relationships. Time spent on building relationships is an investment with great ROI.
Stick to the big-picture view. With every phone call and lead, it’s tempting to lose track of your overall plan and jump immediately on the next thing in your inbox. But losing track of your strategy will, in the long run, result in loss of control. Before you jump on a new lead, Sellingpower.com suggests considering the following qualifiers: 1. Do they want what you sell? 2. Do they have the ability to effectively use your product or service? 3. Is there a compelling event with a deadline? If all three qualifications are met, consider rearranging your schedule to accommodate to theirs. Otherwise, you can judge the immediacy of the request and slate it for a more flexible day.
Do the stuff you hate. Nobody loves doing paperwork, but staying on top of it keeps things from piling up and will ensure you don’t miss critical details. Review meeting notes immediately after each client encounter, record action items in the appropriate places and update contact information. File receipts in a designated spot. Make note of reorders for collateral or samples. Stay on top of it and you’ll keep it manageable.
Make meetings count. You may only see some clients once or twice a year and others on a more regular basis. Regardless, your goal should be to make every meeting count. Go into each meeting knowing the basic information. Have a plan of attack and set meeting-specific goals so you know what you’re trying to accomplish in each encounter.
Summit Brokerage Services is a member of Cetera Financial Group, RCS Capital Corporation’s (NYSE: RCAP) retail investment advice platform.
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