Becoming an elite advisor has everything to do with making a commitment to doing the right activities. The difference between success and failure is down to what you do with your time.
As both a financial advisor and a business owner you need to focus on profit-generating activities. And you are not generating income unless you are sitting in front of clients, or talking with them on the phone. Refuse to let any other activities take precedence over appointments and prospecting.
Here are 5 ways to help you improve your time management skills.
There’s no shortcut to success but you sure can save time and quite a few trial errors if you get the full practice management library, How to Excel in the Securities Industry: What Elite Advisors Do that Average Advisors Don’t Do, 4-CD set.
#1. Book in a time to prospect
Nothing happens without an appointment so book in a time to prospect each day and stick to it religiously. Many advisors dislike prospecting and spend their time ‘preparing to prospect’. Often preparing to prospect can take up so much time there’s none left to get anything else done.
If you feel you’re procrastinating when it comes to this important task, ask yourself why that is. Are you afraid of rejection or are you under-confident about your abilities? Do you need help in refining your prospecting techniques? Whatever the reasons – you need to get beyond them as soon as possible.
#2. Learn to delegate
It’s all too easy to get lost in a mountain of paperwork but doing so means you are dedicating yourself to activities that will not bring any business in the door. Many of the daily tasks of running your business can be delegated or can be performed by technology, few require your complete attention day-to-day. So, identify the tasks that don’t require your personal input and find a way to offload them.
#3. Screen out distractions
Eliminate noncritical activities. Leave opening emails to a fixed point in the day, and don’t make or take unnecessary calls. If you do this, you will see a leap in your productivity. An average advisor could receive up to 150 emails in a day – not surprisingly, opening, reading and responding to these messages could take up hours of your time.
Stop behaving ‘reactively’ by reacting to incoming emails and calls (or other office interruptions) and take back control. Behave proactively and organize your time efficiently.
If you’re new to the business and looking for ways to kick-start your practice, or need a reminder how to master the basics, check out the mp3 compilation, A Blueprint for Success: What They Don’t Teach You in Training – it will help you focus on what’s important and as a result, improve your time management skills.
#4. Understand your most productive times
Be aware there are natural peaks and lows in the day. If you are a morning person, make this the time you perform your most demanding tasks i.e. prospecting and meeting with potential clients. If your energy levels dive in the afternoon that’s the ideal time to take care of more mundane tasks like email or paperwork that does need your attention.
#5. Keep track of how you spend your day
The most successful advisors focus on specific daily activities and keep a scorecard of them. A study by the FPA a few years ago found that most advisors who felt they were in control of their time used tracking tools. There are multiple tools to download that can track, analyze and report what you do online to illustrate how you are currently using your time.
While activities differ from advisor to advisor you should perform them so that they are specific and measurable. It’s far better to conduct two client meetings or more every day rather than see three or four clients on one day – but nobody for the next few days. If you want to achieve your goals, set targets and stick to them.
If your business has plateaued and you are working too many hours and not growing your business, check out the Webinar Replay, The Seven Essential Traits of Successful Advisors, a Center Stage event with Don Connelly & David Hubbard.
According to the same study conducted by FPA, only 13% of advisors feel in control of their time, while 3 in 4 work more than 40 hours a week ( a third working more than 50 hours a week). Despite putting in the long hours many advisors are not putting these long hours to productive use.
Start right away by implementing these five steps and ensure you’re using your precious time in the most effective way.
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