Financial Advisor Wins: Measuring Success for Yourself, Your Clients and Your Team

Measuring Success for Yourself, Your Clients and Your TeamEd Note: This article is part of an ongoing series focused on the achievements made by financial advisors.

What defines success? Is it efficiency (how quickly things get done), productivity (how many clients you bring in or how much work you can complete) or profitability (did you come in under budget or did you generate profit)?

 

Most financial advisors have little idea how to evaluate their efforts. Sure, healthy revenues and breaking even are great indicators, but they don’t provide the full picture.

Entrepreneur and consultant Adelaide Lancaster says the true measure of success is how much you’re learning – about your clients, your offering, your market, your business and yourself. “It’s learning why those customers signed on and why others chose not to. It’s about getting feedback on what parts of your offering need improvement and learning to turn feedback into a better product. It’s about understanding how your business influences the marketplace. It’s about knowing, through first-hand experience, what you like about working for yourself and what you don’t; where you add the most value to your business and where you are consistently wasting your time.”

How can learning and knowledge be more valuable than stellar sales results? “If you don’t know why something is working, then you won’t know how to respond to inevitable changes in the marketplace. But the more you understand your business, your industry and yourself, the better you’ll be able to successfully adapt to those changes and create a business that will last. So the next time you want to evaluate your progress, put aside the metrics and instead ask yourself how much you’ve learned. What do you know that you didn’t before? What do you still need to find out?” offers Lancaster.

According to the study Traits of Highly Successful Financial Advisors conducted by ByAllAccounts, 96.9 percent of advisors surveyed said that they measure success by client satisfaction, more than two times as many as the next most common metric, assets under management, used by 41.5 percent. Client retention (65.6 percent) and client service (60.9 percent) were the top two priorities of successful advisors, topping assets under management (59.4 percent), which was the third highest priority. Interestingly, 96.8 percent of the fastest-growing advisors surveyed said understanding the needs of their clients was their top personal strength, while 80.6 percent said they spend the majority of their time on client management, communication and service; 18.3 percent said they spend their time on back office operations processes and reporting.

 

Part of any practice’s success is the ability to attract, understand and satisfy the unique needs of the client. The most satisfied clients are said to be the best for any business, including the independent financial advisor. Satisfied clients tend to be loyal and will, most likely, pass your name on as a referral to family and friends.

 

Do you know how satisfied your clients really are, or how loyal they are?

 

One of the best measures to evaluate client loyalty and satisfaction is by implementing a  client satisfaction survey. Business can improve two-fold by engaging your clients and focusing on certain aspects of your client relationships. Plus, a well-defined client satisfaction survey can drive communication between you and your clients.

 

Proactive financial advisors say they conduct client satisfaction surveys on a regular basis – once or twice a year – to gain a better understanding of where they should focus their customer satisfaction efforts and how to follow through. Survey Monkey, an online provider of web-based survey solutions, says being consistent about soliciting and analyzing feedback is crucial if you want to deliver great results.

As for the team, an organization is only as good as its talent. Studies show motivated employees are more productive and lead to a lower turnover. So how do you motivate staff and keep them happy? The first step is recognizing that everyone is motivated differently. Finding out what keeps others excited about their jobs makes a great difference in performance levels.

 

According to Robert G. Isaac, Wilfred J. Zerbe and Douglas C. Pitt in their article, Leadership and Motivation: The Effective Application of Expectancy Theory, there are two types of motivators: extrinsic and intrinsic. The article reads, “Extrinsic motivators account for the causes for behavior exhibited in the workplace such as pay, while intrinsic motivators are behaviors derived from internal forces such as the enjoyment of work. Extrinsic motivation is what leaders can provide to motivate their staff, like incentive programs, career development, mentoring and training. Intrinsic motivators come from within a person.”

 

You should learn what intrinsically motivates each of your employees and then create an environment for each individual’s intrinsic motivation to flourish. Some proven ideas to help motivate your staff  can include:

  • providing a positive working environment
  • creating effective leadership from the top down
  • recognizing people for their work and public praise
  • communication, including listening
  • small rewards for key milestones
  • asking for feedback and maintaining an open dialog
  • setting goals and objectives for individuals and teams; and
  • developing and coaching

 

As for yourself, bosses often have no problem evaluating their employees’ strengths and weaknesses, but taking stock of their own skills is just as important. Find out what intrinsically motivates you. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. After all, one of the keys to success in business involves knowing what you’re good at and what you need to improve on. No matter the route you go, make sure your team understands what success looks like for you and your firm.

 

For more information on Summit Brokerage Services, visit www.joinsummit.com or contact us at (800) 354-5528.

Summit Brokerage Services is a member of Cetera Financial Group, RCS Capital Corporation’s (NYSE: RCAP) retail investment advice platform.

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