Please take a few minutes and fill out my survey, “Best Practices 2011.” You will find it here: www.billgood.com/bestpractices.
Here’s what’s in it for you: I will send each participant a copy of the final report. You will be able to compare how you stack up with the best. I will also send you my upcoming enhanced e-book, Referral Marketing. It will forever relieve you of the burden of asking for referrals. Instead, you will learn how to make referrals happen.
Here’s what’s in it for me: Your answers to the survey will help me identify today’s best practices.
The one thing that differentiates top producers from those who struggle, and even those who almost make it to the winners’ circle, is this: those who make it to the end of the rainbow do a little bit better at practically every aspect of the business. Not a single one of these ideas or practices will get you there, but a combination, while continually adding more, is what will keep you moving on the path to being the best.
But here’s the rub: “Best practices” change over time. Twenty years ago, most successful advisors pounded the phone. That’s rarely a “best practice” today.
I know some of today’s best practices. Maybe most. I say that because I’ve trained some of the industry’s best in what they do. But I may have missed some. So what I want you to do is rip out this page, and have it nearby as you take my survey. This way we will be on the same page as we discuss best practices. Below is my personal list, with some commentary on each.
Best Practices List
Big thinking. I put this one first simply because I have met lots of talented, knowledgeable, hard-working advisors. Few of these go the distance. What’s the difference? Smarter? No. More charisma? Hardly. Work ethic? Nope. The very top producers simply think bigger. They believe they will be the biggest producer (in the office, the firm and the business) and they set goals to get there.
Advisor credentials. You must have the training and the credentials to prove it. You must also display your credentials, in your office and on the Web. But the key thing is not having a load of alphabet soup after your name; it’s demonstrating the use of such credentials in a professional manner when working with clients.
Brand creation. Top advisors and their team members articulate their brand to all they meet. They have a short, yet engaging, answer to the question: “What do you do?” Brand creation carries through to consistent oral and written presentations and Web presence. Team members are so completely comfortable with their brand that when a prospect comes along who doesn’t “fit,” they are not afraid to move on.
Business planning. Without a business plan, you’ll wind up somewhere. Top advisors know where they’re going, and they communicate that to their teams.
Client contact strategy. If your clients are not thinking about you when it comes to financial matters, they are thinking about someone else. Your client contact strategy goes a very long way to determining not only the retention but the quality of the relationship with your clients, and therefore your success in business.
Client profiling. These skills enable you to find what you should offer investors that will move them to act. Superb client profiling skills almost negate the need for closing skills.
Crisis management. This is the ability to manage a client’s panic when markets go into a downtrend. Clients must have confidence in your leadership. Like it or not, you are a leader. Very simply, a leader is one who leads. Failure to do so quickly and with confidence can undermine years of relationship building.
Decision-making skills. In the optimum business, there is no selling, just advising. You tell someone what to do, they do it. But some people have great difficulty making a decision. When you are dealing with someone’s life savings, fear is rampant. Fear leads to procrastination. The highly skilled advisor will encourage prospects to make a decision.
Delivering what was promised. Since you are dealing with their money, people watch you all the time. They want to know if they can trust you. One way trust is built is doing what you promise. “I’ll call you on Tuesday morning at 8” means Tuesday morning at 8, their phone rings.
Doing what’s best for the client. Doing the right thing at all times for the client is a recipe for long-term success. And it’s much easier than having to replace “lost” clients all the time, or to rebuild the remains of a “faddish” portfolio that likely won’t withstand the ebbs and flows of normal market cycles.