The primary role of most top-producing agents is similar to that of an actor. They set up presentations and perform a well-scripted routine. You all know the old adage in this business: memorize, professionalize and then personalize the script for a polished presentation.
The great challenge all of us face is getting ourselves on stage as often as possible. The day-to-day operation of your business and your ability to delegate tasks are the tools to keep you on stage more often.
Our presentation should help you visualize how best to structure and manage your own performances. We will review how to set up your back office, identify the production team players, how to assess the skills and abilities of the players (including you), and how to break down your practice into the different performance areas.
In our business, a series of repeating steps is necessary to produce results. Each step is divided into segments that can be completed easily and that add to a successful performance. The segments are:
o Reception and administration.
o Executive assistant/para-planner.
o Wholesale and product partners.
o Underwriters/asset management teams.
o Presentation material preparation.
o Junior partners.
o Your coach.
Each one of these segments needs to have a person responsible for the successful completion of the tasks. Assuming you have associates working on the backstage segments, take stock of their skills and abilities. How do we identify the natural talents of our “behind the scenes” team?
The first step is to describe the job and expectations of the position you are delegating. Spend time to develop good questions and check the r?sum?s and backgrounds of the candidates. Then have them answer a profile questionnaire that can identify their interests, strengths and things that motivate them.
We use an online questionnaire tool, created by a company called Kolbe, which divides natural talents into four categories: fact finder, follow through, quick start and implementer. The weighted score of the four categories details the likely natural talent areas in which candidates are strongest.
Steps To Success
Assuming you have identified, tested and trained appropriate employees, the following are best practices ideas to follow in running a business.
Administration and reception
Because the office reception area is where first impressions are made, the entry should be clean, uncluttered and comfortable. Having coffee, tea and water service available invites clients to settle and relax.
The front-desk person should manage the reception area and initial greeting services. In our practice, we hold a significant percentage of appointments in our office. The “sales” process begins with this positive greeting.
The flow behind the scenes starts with client scheduling. To make best use of our time, we designate specific days for case preparation and review. We control when we see the clients and where we meet; by having those days pre-planned, our office environment is set up to be “client-ready.”
Our practice is run on a financial planning model. We charge all clients a fee for service to create a comprehensive financial plan. Client meetings, which I run, are attended by my para-planner. We take notes, ask questions and gather the many details necessary for plan creation.
Before leaving, the client is given a checklist of other needed items. We also provide a contact point person for information and help, i.e., the para-planner. This individual assists with case preparation, more particularly drafting of the financial plan document. The para-planner and I review draft plans so they can be completed on the “non-client” days.