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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Your Model Day

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Without any doubt, your most valuable resource is your time. I will not repeat here my arguments that a financial advisor who has survived the first few years in the business is worth $1,000 an hour meeting with and talking to interested qualified clients and prospects. This is a given.

Instead, let’s answer the question: How do I get more time for clients and prospects? There are two principal tools: The first is your team, which buys selling time by taking over the prospecting, service and computer operations that can otherwise consume your day.

The second is your Model Day, which optimizes the time purchased by your team.

To create a Model Day, you need some resources. You need some samples, a worksheet, a “Daily Planning Checklist” and a list of model days that you can tweak to your own business style. I have created these resources and put them at, along with a copy of my February Research magazine article, “Time Management: The Key to Boosting Revenue.” All resources are free.

What Is a Model Day?

It is a chart expressing your plan to perform certain kinds of actions at certain times. No chart? Your plan is just a wish.

By performing similar activities in their own frame of time, and then prioritizing within the activity, you can create a “roll.” A “roll” results from doing the same thing over and over.

I call the time blocks that make up your Model Day “mini-days.” Like any 24-hour day, a mini-day must end. If you say, “My call mini-day is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.,” at 10 a.m. that mini-day is over. The next day starts.

Mini-days are success factors. Each success factor is necessary to success; all taken together are sufficient.

Let’s say you decide to make a big push to get new clients. You spend six hours a day cold calling. What about investment research? That’s clearly a success factor. What about service? Returning client calls? Writing financial plans? You could win the new accounts battle and lose the business war.

What you need most is a roll in sales and prospecting. But in order to have this, all the other activities that tend to consume our lives have to be done. To get them done, they need to be prioritized and contained. If you don’t set aside time for them, they won’t get done. And if you don’t prioritize them you’ll wind up doing less important things while leaving something that can come back and bite. By isolating all necessary types of actions into their own mini-days, you can create a roll throughout your business life.

The Model Day has three purposes that are constantly at war. Find the right balance, and your career will zoom: (1) Maximize sales contacts in the time available for work. (2) Develop a momentum in every area of business by grouping similar activities into their own mini-day. (3) Complete the most important tasks in each mini-day.

Preparing Your Day

The Model Day starts (or ends) with a planning mini-day. At the end of your planning mini-day, you are ready for all meetings and calls scheduled for today. You have delegated or scheduled any service issues. Urgent emails are done. Tasks assigned to each of your mini-days are prioritized.

The rest of the day is execution of the prioritized tasks in each of your mini-days.

What about exceptions? The better job you have done planning, the fewer there will be. Will it ever be perfect? Absolutely not. But as you develop, revise and tweak your Model Day, somewhere along the line you will feel a shift from a reactive day to a proactive day. It’s working.

To develop a Model Day, you need to identify all the factors you believe are necessary for your success. Each of these factors becomes a mini-day.

At a minimum, these could include planning, meetings, client and prospect calls, cold calling (if required), training and professional development, promotion planning, networking, team coordination and client service.

Then you need to position each mini-day.

As you position your mini-days on My Model Week worksheet, here are some guidelines.

Remember: Sales is a numbers game!

Your calling mini-day should start at 8:00 because 8-10 a.m. is the single best time in the day for making telephone contact. By afternoon, you are less than half as likely to make phone contact.

Your meeting mini-day should come in the afternoon, with three to five in-person appointments, preferably in your office. For each meeting, have a folder with all documents required by your appointment preparation checklist. (You do have one, right?)

Now fill in around your calling mini-day and meeting mini-day.

When you have a paper copy you are happy with, make it look good by adapting one of the Model Week worksheets we have created.

This now becomes a key document for your team. It tells them what you will be doing so they can develop their own model days around you.

Note to “teamless” FAs: Because you don’t have help, you will have many more mini-days than an established FA. Early in your career, you need to spend at least four hours/day cold calling and another two hours/day making prospecting calls. You also have client calls, meetings with clients and prospects, not to mention time required to learn investment skills.

Is there a solution? You bet. It’s called a 60-hour week. If someone recruited you into the industry and told you that a rookie can work 40 hours a week, they lied.


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