One of the most remarkable things about independent advisors is their wide range of personal and professional backgrounds, personalities, and approaches to life and business. Despite this broad range of professionals, however, our industry’s top producers often share common traits.
Most top producers become successful by consistently focusing on a core set of basic, tried-and-true practices that, over time, have become the backbone of their businesses. Every advisor, regardless of where you are in building or maintaining your practice, can immediately benefit from the following seven basic habits.
#1: See any client any time
We are in the service business, and our livelihood revolves around spending time with clients when they need us the most. Sometimes this can take place on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., but many times, evenings and weekends are the only times during which clients will spare the time to meet with an advisor. This can be particularly true of double-income families, who are often rushed to meet their work and family commitments and don’t have the extra time to allocate for important things such as financial planning and life insurance.
Plan to commit a certain amount of your evening and weekend time to meeting with your clients. By doing so, you will enhance your value-add and pick up additional business.
Remember, however, to be fair to yourself and your family. Determine how many hours a week you will meet with clients after normal business hours. Then, determine how you will reimburse yourself for that time. This may be as simple as leaving early the next day to pick your children up from school or taking your spouse out for a long lunch.
#2: Establish a great personal brand
When you started your business, chances are that there were several advisors in your market who could make a case for comparable products and services. So how do you stand out? Create your brand. A brand is a promise, whether it’s Nike’s “Just Do It,” which speaks to the inner athlete in all of us, or McDonald’s promising a pleasant reward with “You Deserve a Break Today.” A brand promise speaks to a need and, with repetition and need fulfillment, creates a brand preference. To create your own personal brand, assess your strengths versus your audience’s needs. Then, craft a message that promises to fulfill that need.
No matter how large your company grows or how many other people you employ, this simple premise will always apply: Clients will remember and identify with your practice because of your personal brand.
Once you clearly understand what your personal brand is, determine how to best leverage it across all of your marketing and communications efforts for new and existing customers and staff.
#3: Name your company after yourself
When searching for professional service businesses, clients seek out those with a strong brand and which give them a high level of comfort. You can leverage both aspects by simply naming your company after yourself. This is particularly helpful once you have determined your key differentiator and established your personal brand.
Clients will refer their friends and family to professionals they know and trust. Chances are extremely good that your practice already has benefitted from referrals and your name recognition. By directly tying your name to your company’s brand, you will be able to more efficiently increase your name recognition and further differentiate your business from your competitors.
#4: Employ a complete marketing mix
With the countless number of marketing tools that are available today, the challenge is determining which tools should be used, as well as how and when to use them. The top producers consistently focus on the basics and add additional layers as their business matures and grows, but they never lose sight of what helped them achieve their initial success.