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Life Health > Running Your Business

Get educated on end-of-year planning

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Summer has ended, and for kids across the U.S., the routine of going back to school is just starting to sink in. For most financial professionals, focusing on their business plan is something that usually comes at the end or the beginning of the year. Yet those who are looking to take their business to the next level won’t wait; instead, they will take this time of the year to educate themselves on how to maximize business now, rather than waiting until winter. The end of the year is one more reason people put off planning their finances, what with the holidays and a whole lot of other excuses people have.

This year presents an even bigger challenge. The economy has improved in the past 18 months, and numerous tax and estate planning issues have yet to be addressed in Washington. This can leave the average potential client in a wait-and-see mode. So how does a financial professional turn these challenges into opportunities? For me, once I figured it out, I saw a 250 percent fourth-quarter growth from the previous year. Here are my three easy strategies.

Circle back with current clients. Many of us have a planning process when we bring on a new client. In the perfect world, all issues get addressed right away. Yet, in the real world, clients need to take some time to think about other ideas before they move forward. It could be the issue of buying long-term care insurance or investing more money. By focusing first on current clients, I feel you are doing what your clients hired you to do: taking care of them first and foremost. Call current clients back in for a review and talk about issues that need to be addressed. Worst-case scenario is a sale isn’t suitable right now, but the client still gets an up-to-date review, and everyone wins.

Grow results with potential clients. Increase marketing efforts and focus on time-sensitive items to keep response rates high. Do 20 percent more in three areas of your best marketing campaigns. That could mean mailing 20 percent more invites to workshops, 20 percent more follow-up calls or one more referral event. You decide. Pick your three favorite marketing ideas that are working and put in 20 percent more effort into each. Focus on time-sensitive issues, such as tax cuts expiring or last-minute strategies to maximize results. This easy step should make up for those potential clients that are distracted toward the end of the year.

Maximize time. Time is the one commodity in life that cannot be duplicated, so don’t waste it. On any given day, I can do about 50 different things. But most issues that come up aren’t where I should spend my time. To solve this issue each night before I leave for the day, I write down the six most important things I need to do the next day. Waiting until the actual day is a bad idea because life kicks in, and the most important items usually get put off. Then, each day when I come in, I focus on the most important issues first, so I maximize my time.

I can’t guarantee by following my system the results will jump by 250 percent, like they did for me. Yet what I do know as a personal producer is waiting is a bad idea. Get a jump start on your business before we ring in the New Year.

Nolan Baker is an Investment Professional and Founder of The Retirement Specialists, home of The Retirement Guys. Nolan can be reached at [email protected].


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