Financial advisors can reach the highest level of success in their field and become elite advisors who serve fewer, wealthier clients very well, according to John Bowen, CEO and founder of San Martin, California-based advisor coaching firm CEG Worldwide.
“There are three levers of success” and nine “accelerators” to help achieve that, he said Wednesday during a conference session at TD Ameritrade’s National LINC 2020 conference in Orlando, Florida. Those drivers include clarity of intent — the ability to remain “very deliberate, no matter what’s happening in the market” or any other external forces at play, he told attendees.
The second driver of success is the ability to provide a “world-class client experience” in which the advisor has “differentiated” himself or herself from the many rivals in the market, he noted. And the third lever is having a “wealthy client pipeline” in which the advisor is “no longer concerned where that next wealthy client is coming from,” he said.
He went on to list the nine accelerators that advisors can use as a checklist to assess where they are on their journey to become elite advisors. First up were three key accelerators that work hand-in-hand with clarity of intention: Having a “destination pathway” in which you are clear about what you want to achieve; having a business model that can achieve the results you want; and being able to identify the clients you want to “be a hero to,” he noted.
Next up were three accelerators tied to providing clients with a world-class experience. They are: Providing a unique value promise in which you have differentiated yourself from the competition; client-centered discovery in which you are able to emotionally connect with prospective clients as you discover the gap between where they are now and where they want to go in the future; and having a professional network in which you work with other professionals to deliver your wealth management experience, he said.
And the three accelerators that he said work hand-in-hand with achieving a wealthy client pipeline are: Positioning oneself as a talented expert — the “go-to advisor” in your community; being able to provide “economic glue” that motivates influential people to work with you on a long-term basis; and having best-client partnerships in which other professionals regularly introduce you to their best clients.
He defined elite advisors as those with assets under management of $500 million and up, with “prequalified, pre-endorsed” clients each with assets of $5 million to $50 million.
Bowen stressed that what advisors also end up getting when they reach the top of the advisor success hierarchy is the “life that you want supported by the business,” including the ability to take many weeks off each year for vacation.
In comparison, he noted that the bottom of the advisor success hierarchy is the “technician” with AUM of $50 million to $100 million, with clients each having assets of $250,000 to $1 million. Just above it is the “experimenter,” who takes some risks and has AUM of $100 million to $250 million, with clients each having $500,000 to $2 million in assets. And then, just below the elite advisor, there’s the “rainmaker,” with AUM of $250 million to $500 million and clients who each have assets of $1 million to $5 million.
Wrapping up the session, he pointed to what happened to his family many years ago, when his father called him and disclosed that the cast iron foundry he and his uncle owned was going out of business, his parents were getting divorced and his dad was going to have to find a job.
“I believe if he had been working with a really good financial advisor that he and our family would have worked through that challenge very successfully, but they didn’t,” he said.
With that in mind, he advised attendees: “I don’t want you to ever lose sight of the impact we’re making as we’re building these” elite wealth management practices that are “all about the clients.” He added: “Your clients deserve a trusted advisor who helps them to take care of the people they love [and] the causes they care about.”
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