As advisors, we’re constantly balancing multiple clients, navigating strict and volatile regulations and prospecting new business.
This juggling act can quickly become overwhelming.
To keep your practice relevant and up to code, your clients happy and your pipeline full, I recommend a simple process that will help you stay two steps ahead.
1. Gut Check
Our main agenda should always be the client. We should be passionate about discovering what our clients need and providing services that meet those needs. We should also hold a firm belief that we will do what we can to support our clients in their financial goals. To that end, you should be ardent about sharing advice with clients and helping them understand the concept of financial planning. If this does not drive you, ask yourself what does.
Next, take an honest assessment of where your business can grow. Meet with advisors who you admire and ask about their practice fundamentals, such as how they prospect new clients. They may have insights that will help you jumpstart or streamline your practice. Join a professional organization such as MDRT where you can engage in regular conversations and learn best practices from successful advisors. Whether you are a new advisor or have been in the industry for decades, it always pays to embrace and accept that we cannot operate alone in this industry.
2. Visualizing the Future
You should now be inspired by the support and advice from others. With their counsel and experience in mind, look toward the future. Do you have a plan for your practice? Ask yourself where you see your practice in five years. Examine other advisors’ ideas and practices and decide which to implement to achieve your long-term goals.
Chances are once you visualize a future plan you’ll realize you can’t do it alone. So often new advisors focus on simply finding more business and new prospects. Once you procure those prospects, however, it can become quite tricky to keep track of your current clients’ goals and remain a personable, organized advisor while also trying to generate more new business. Know your limitations, and be open to new ways of doing things.
3. Investing in Your Practice
Acknowledging both your goals and limitations may lead you to hire an assistant. I sometimes hear advisors say they will invest in their business once they hit a certain financial goal, which can lead to a “chicken before the egg” dilemma. Will hiring an assistant help produce the funds you need to pay that assistant? If you hire credible help, the results will almost always outweigh the cost.
If you have a part-time assistant, perhaps you should consider full-time support. If you have a full-time assistant already, maybe you need to invest in technology that helps automate your processes more quickly. Consistently evaluate what others are doing, your limitations and your future goals. This will help you understand how to invest in your business and therefore push you two steps ahead of your clients and colleagues.
4. Practice Management From the Top Down
We work in a dynamic industry. It is affected by market fluctuations, evolving client demographics and more. Most of us are trying to understand how serving millennials will impact our practice model. Having a solid and simple process in place that you can consistently return to will help you be less overwhelmed by client needs and regulation changes.
This is a great time to review where your practice is, take stock of the future and establish the necessary procedures to meet your goals. If your practice management starts from the top down, you’ll find it much easier to navigate industry challenges while establishing yourself as a trustworthy financial advisor.
Anne-Marie Lee is with Aviva Financial Advisers Pte Ltd. and is a Life and Honor Roll Member of the Million Dollar Round Table. She holds the Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant and Fellow of the Life Underwriters’ Training Council professional designations. She started her career as an officer in the Singapore Armed Forces.