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Coaches Corner: Nixing the Top 4 Excuses for Not Building Systems

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Your time is your most valuable asset as an advisor. Yet as a coach to advisors, I’ve observed how so many of you abuse the time you have by reinventing the wheel over and over again. Doing so only leads to eating up more of your time and effort. It also leads to one glaring realization: the need for systems and processes in everything you do.

You know you need systems and standard operating procedures in place, not only for compliance and succession planning purposes but also to maintain your sanity and ensure what you promised to do is actually getting done. So why are so few advisors implementing systemized processes? The most common objections I’ve heard as a business coach can be broken down into four excuses.

Here are the objections and my responses to each. 

Objection 1: I don’t have time to start from scratch 

My Response: There’s no need to recreate the wheel which is why we provide our advisors with sample checklists and corresponding systems to help them hit the ground running.

Start by creating a checklist. This isa high level list of action items that, when combined, becomes the process for accomplishing a task.

For example, say you want to hold a client event. Make a list of everything that needs to get done from start to finish…find the venue, send out invitations, get compliance approval, create the presentation, plan logistics and follow up with attendees after the event. Then add additional details around each task on the checklist. Voila! You now have a written system that ensures the planning process for future client events will run smoothly and in a consistent manner.

If you find yourself staring at a blank page and not knowing where to start, visit, click on the Free Tools tab, and enter the code “checklist” to download a sample New Client Processing Checklist. 

Objection 2: The Task Is Overwhelming 

My Response: The thought of writing a system for every task and process in your office can certainly be daunting. But remember, systems not only save time and make everyday tasks easier in the long run, they can also lead to new clients and increased productivity across the board. 

So start with the minimum. Every advisory office should have at least these three processes in place: Client Communication Strategy, Client Event Follow-Up, and Onboarding Process for New Clients. Since the client always comes first, these systems are vital to ensuring the best client experience.  

Objective 3: My team doesn’t have enough experience to write systems 

My Response: Newer team members are typically less familiar with office processes. But I would argue that this is the perfect place to get them involved. Who knows better than the “new guy” how valuable it is to have written directions to refer to while learning a new job? 

While training a new employee on an office system, have them write it down. There’s no better way to learn a system than by actually writing it yourself.  Then have them turn their notes into a formalized checklist and written procedure. 

Written systems keep your office running smoothly and help your entire team adopt best practices from the outset. 

Objection 4: My team knows what they’re doing so we don’t really need systems 

My Response: Congratulations on maintaining such a well-run team. But, as a financial advisor you know the importance of preparing for the unexpected. 

So what happens if one of your team members is suddenly gone? Instead of solely relying on your established team to carry out processes, put those systems in writing to ensure their continuity, no matter who must step in to execute them. 

As President John F. Kennedy once said, “The time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining.” The same goes for writing systems. Don’t wait until someone has left your office to get those systems in place. 

Sometimes simply knowing how to take that first step is all you need to make meaningful change in your practice. Use these four tips to avoid the trap of inaction, and never look at these statements as excuses. Instead, view them as opportunities to grow a more trusted team and sustainable business.


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