We have passed the halfway point of 2016, so it’s a natural time of year to pause, review your progress and set direction for the rest of the year.
So far, it has been a mixed year for most financial advisors.
For many advisors, year-over-year results have shown steady, yet unremarkable, improvement. If your year is off to a good start, you need to keep the momentum going.
Ask yourself, “What’s been working? How can I compound my success?”
The solution may be as simple as continuing what you’ve started.
On the other hand, if you’re off to a slower start, you should kick your business up a notch.
Ask yourself, “How can I take advantage of the current environment? What’s the one thing I can do now to set a positive trajectory for the rest of the year?”
Remember, the activities that you start today will have a big impact on your year-end results.
Go ahead and use these six questions to help you analyze your practice.
Whether your business is up, down or just holding its own, you should take some time to review these questions.
Better yet, hold a meeting with your team and discuss these questions as a group.
If regular review meetings are good for assessing your clients well-being, they’re equally important for taking the temperature of your business.
1. Do your clients know you better now than they did at the end of 2015?
Financial advisors who have had a strong first half of 2016 will answer this question with a resounding “yes”. Increased client care has been a key driver for new business and referrals.
When you constantly strive to stay in front of your clients, they truly get to know you better. They are more likely to place unsolicited calls for help.
And they are more open to new ideas when you proactively approach them.
If you want to focus on this aspect of your practice for the remainder of the year, focus on a monthly client communication strategy that leverages a systematic approach for servicing your clients based on their importance to your practice.
You and your team could also send a simple letter or email to those you do not reach. When combined with client meetings, regular correspondence and the interactions of daily business, you will build loyalty and increase production.
2. Do you have a steady flow of referrals?
Most financial advisors believe that referrals are their best source of new business. After all, referrals tend to represent higher-quality new relationships.
Plus, a good referral stream eliminates the need for other timely and costly marketing strategies. So far in 2016, many of the advisors are reporting an increase in the quantity and the quality of their referrals. And, client advocacy is my favorite approach.
When you turn advocacy into an everyday success habit, you are opening the door for exponential business growth.
For many advisors, this may be the only marketing strategy you need.
3. Is your 2016 pipeline stocked with worthwhile prospects?
I regularly hear from producers who have lost control of their client acquisition process. They either don’t have a plan for adding qualified new prospects to their database or they are having difficulty converting the prospects they do have into clients.
If you are looking for a prospecting activity to give your business an almost immediate boost, start by spending time getting your current prospect database under control.
Many of your current prospects are willing to meet with you if you have a good idea, but you have to make it known.
4. Is your team clicking on all cylinders?
Analyzing your practice must include reviewing your team and your team structure.
Though this may sound like an overwhelming task, particularly if you have a simple advisor/assistant set-up, it’s a must. Top producers realize that they need to spend as much time as possible in front of clients and prospects talking about new business opportunities.
Meanwhile, successful assistants prefer to take control of administrative, service and/or marketing activities, therefore giving the advisor more time for clients and prospects. Though this sounds very logical, it is often-times overlooked in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day business.
5. Are you on target to achieve your financial goals for 2016?
Many times, production, asset and new relationship goals are forgotten as soon after they are established.
This usually happens when advisors just throw out numbers and they are not committed to challenging themselves. As the second half of the year approaches, spend some time re-assessing your goals. Have you given yourself enough of a challenge? Too much?
Can you break your financial goals down into manageable activities? Are the activities you already have planned going to help you achieve your goals?
What’s your success formula? When I was more actively running my practice as a financial advisor, I had a simple success formula – 12 by 12, 2 by 5, plan each day.
I used this formula to triple my business over a two year period of time. In my coaching work, I help my clients develop similar success formulas.
Be sure to revisit any ideas that may help you create your own success formula for the second half of 2016.
6. Are you increasing the professionalism of your practice?
Finally, producers and teams that are building the greatest momentum toward a breakout year are constantly finding ways to improve the “business” behind their businesses.
These folks attend workshops, listen to web classes and read as much as they can about the tactics and success habits of top producers. They want to know what is working on topics ranging from time management to wealth management to practice management.
They do more than just meet their continuing education requirements; they set aside regular time for professional development for themselves and their staffs.
The year is only halfway done; it’s not too late to set yourself on a breakout path for increasing production and streamlining your practice.
Answer these questions now, and 2016 could be your best year yet.
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