Financial advisors in today’s firms are typically offered support from sales assistants, branch managers, staff specialists and wholesalers. Given the variety of support available, how can you be sure that you’re taking maximum advantage of what is being offered?
A Timely Choice
Let’s begin by unequivocally stating that your most valuable asset is your time. To succeed in our industry, look at every minute of your time as an investable asset dedicated to generating the greatest possible return. (Why would you invest your own assets any less wisely than you invest your clients’ assets?)
One industry study highlighted the importance of how advisors spend their time. Of those advisors surveyed, fewer than one in 10 — just 9.1 percent — spent more than 60 percent of their time in client-facing activities. However, these few advisors earned net incomes that on average were six times greater than the incomes of advisors who spent less than 30 percent of their time in client-facing activities.
Non-client-facing activities — performing research, allocating and rebalancing assets, attending conferences, talking to money managers and peers, compiling reports and the like — should be done sparingly and only when there is a clear revenue-generating objective. At the end of the day, the more time you spend with your clients, the more successful you will be.
The criticality of time spent in client-facing activities provides a compass for wisely choosing and taking maximum advantage of support personnel, tools and activities. Given the great premium on your time, make sure that any support you utilize is as effective (bang for the buck) and efficient (time-wise) as possible, and ultimately brings you back to, rather than distracts you from, the highest and best use of your time: client-facing activities.
Your Sales Assistant
Having a well-trained, energetic and dedicated sales assistant is of paramount importance since he or she can free you from time spent on non-client-facing activities. Today, many firms split sales assistants between two or more advisors. Since you likely have your assistant only part-time, make sure that you have the right person and that you are using him or her to the greatest possible extent. If another advisor is hogging the assistant’s time, ask for a meeting with that advisor and be up-front about your concerns. On the other hand, if your assistant appears to have extra capacity, don’t hesitate to assign more challenging or time-intensive tasks.
Your Branch Manager
Often misunderstood — sometimes even maligned — your branch manager can prove a powerful ally and pivotal source of support. Branch managers often have discretion over orphaned and walk-in accounts; they decide the make-up of advisor teams (being teamed with the right person can make a tremendous difference to your career); they may have discretionary business development and marketing budgets; and they often decide who will be invited to desirable training programs.