For years, I have talked to producers across the country who struggle with consistency in their production. Everyone is trying to get to the next level, but it seems like only a few ever actually reach their full potential.
In most cases, a producer will have a stellar year, only to fall short of that production goal in the years to come. In my business, I have been able to achieve continued levels of success and growth as my career has gone on. What I have realized is that I did it by creating an efficient business model to drive my production instead of chasing the next shiny-object lead model.
The truth is that there is no golden ticket to success in this business. You can’t produce on a consistent level and increase your production if you treat your career as just another job. The day I stopped trying to sell another client and started to work on developing a thriving business to help my clients is the day my production and my career turned on its axis.
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In the past 10 years, I have seen my business grow to well over $20 million of gathered assets in 2011. I no longer have a job; I have a self-sufficient business. And my financial practices business (Ohio-based W.A. Smith Financial Group) will continue to grow exponentially … as long as I allow it to!
I contribute most of my success to the business model I developed to turn my financial practice into a consistent, self-sufficient machine. By developing the right model and adding the right people to my team, I was able to focus on the most important revenue-driving tasks a financial advisor should have: meeting with people, speaking to people, and servicing my current clients.
My team spends its time focusing on all the other important stuff that most advisors end up wasting precious minutes on. Things like new business paperwork and marketing ideas used to consume my days. Instead of having a calendar chock full of appointments with new and existing clients, I was spending my time trying to get people through my doors to begin with.
I decided to create a business model that consists of three main components: office infrastructure, marketing, and sales. Each component to the model is just as important as the next. Just like a tripod, if you kick one leg out, the rest comes crashing down. The systems rely on each other to run smoothly.
As a one-man shop, I had a job. I did all the new business paperwork. I answered my phones. I developed different marketing methods to try to get people through my doors and onto my calendar. My time was being consumed by things that didn’t necessarily drive revenue but needed to be done nevertheless.
My team now consists of six full-time team members who have specific job duties and responsibilities. Each person is as important as the next, and their responsibilities involve two main things: getting new business issued and completed and getting new prospects through the doors.
My team enables me to spend my time working on my business instead of in my business. I have two associate advisors, a director of client services who handles all new business processing and incoming client service requests, a case design specialist in charge of developing sales tools and evaluations on prospective client portfolios, a marketing director in charge of creating and managing multiple marketing avenues to get new people through the doors, and an administrative assistant who manages the entire schedule, routes incoming phone calls, and assists all other team members with daily tasks.
Obviously, having multiple employees costs money, and most people are under the belief that they can’t afford to add an employee or two because their current production level just won’t allow for it. Instead, advisors believe they need to increase their production first before they can add team members (or expense). So they cut corners. They try to find the golden lead ticket. Ultimately, they end up spinning their wheels.