The title of this article describes how most established Financial Advisors exist in their financial services business: too many clients, working too many hours, for too little money. It’s a shame because this is such a great business. There are very few professions where you can earn all the money you want to pay for a truly great present lifestyle plus all you need to fund all of your future goals, including your own financial independence, while doing something valuable for other people. This really is an amazing business! Sadly, most Financial Advisors choose not to actualize the true potential that is inherent in our great business.
This does not have to be your reality, however. You have a choice. Choose to be one of the Financial Advisors who transcends the norm to experience something better.
We will examine why most Advisors end up with too many clients, working too many hours, for too little money. And we will identify some things you can do to create a business with the right number of clients, working the right number of hours, for the right amount of money… for you.
Too Many Clients: Paradoxically, most Financial Advisors admit to being less than effective at consistently implementing prospecting, marketing, and client acquisition systems, yet they end up with too many clients, especially too many of the wrong clients. How does that happen?
- Continuing a pattern from early in their career of accepting as clients almost anyone who will do business with them.
- Inheriting “books of business” from Advisors who leave the industry.
- Buying “books of business” from Advisors who leave the business (or are smart enough to sell their non-Ideal Clients to another adviser).
- Successfully executing mass marketing prospecting systems (direct mail, seminars, radio shows, advertising, etc.).
Can you really have too many clients? Of course. Here are just 4 key indicators that you have too many clients, any one of which is enough to prove the point. You can probably think of others.
- At whatever point you have even one client who you would not recognize if you passed them on the street. (Exacerbated if you have clients you have never met face-to-face.)
- At whatever point you have even one client for whom you don’t have time to make sure all of the following action items are done for them, some completed by you and others coordinated through the appropriate subject-matter expert:
- comprehensive, written financial plan
- program to build and maintain adequate emergency cash reserves
- program to manage, reduce, and / or eliminate debt
- asset allocation, including assets not held with your custodian
- comprehensive insurance program covering every risk that could challenge their financial health and security
- legal documents that support excellent financial health (wills, trusts, durable powers of attorney, living wills, health directives, business succession plan, etc.)
- taxes filed on time, accurately, and paid in full
- When you have even one client who you can’t meet with the several times per year necessary to keep them on track to make smart choices about their money so they achieve their goals and keep their financial house in order.
- When you have even one client who does not pay you enough to cover their fair share of your business economic needs. (Especially if what they pay does not even cover your costs to have them as a client or justify your time investment.)
Most Financial Advisors I’ve met would love to have deeper, more meaningful relationships with their clients, deliver truly comprehensive financial services so every client has their financial house in perfect order, meet with their clients frequently enough to hold them accountable to keep their financial house in perfect order, and be paid enough by every client so they have all the business revenue they need to make their business and their life work. What’s the problem? Not enough time? It probably feels that way, but enough time is not really the problem. You have all the time there is. Everyone who survived the week had 168 hours. The real issue is choosing to allocate your time so you acquire the right clients and serve them fully. I call this the Rule of 168.
Working Too Many Hours: This challenge is driven by two admirable character traits. One is truly caring about helping people and, therefore, trying to serve them even though the amount of time that will take per client multiplied by the number of clients you have make it unworkable. Remember the Rule of 168. There are only 168 hours in the week. How you choose to invest those hours determines your success in business and your happiness in life. No matter how much you care, there is a limit to how many people you can help. Trying to serve too many people can wreck other areas your life and create an unsustainable business.
The other admirable character trait is integrity: “By God, I promised to take care of these people and I’m going to do whatever it takes to do that!” This is a noble goal, but futile given the unchangeable truth of the Rule of 168. Please don’t be upset with me for delivering this message about the Rule of 168. It wasn’t my idea. God did not consult with me when he or she decided how long it would take the Earth to achieve a full rotation or how long it takes the Earth to revolve around the sun. It is what it is. Your job is to make your business and your life work within the boundaries of the Rule of 168.
If you are working too many hours, it’s likely because you are choosing to do things with your time that are not as necessary or as important as you might think and because you are working with too many of the wrong the clients. Notice I didn’t say “bad” people. I said the wrong people to make your business life effective so you can work a reasonable number of hours to generate the money you need to make your life work.
What does it mean to make your life work? That’s really up to you. For most humans their life “working” includes some common elements: financial health, physical health, relationship health, mental health, and spiritual health. Exactly what you do and how you do it in each of these areas can vary greatly. It is a great life and this is a great profession for achieving success in all five areas.
For Too Little Money: Is there a “right” amount of money? Yes. That number is based on your and your family’s personal financial plan. What has to happen for YOUR financial house to be in perfect order? How much money is required to pay for the present lifestyle you truly want? How much do you need to save and invest to achieve all of your goals? How much insurance do you need to mitigate all of the risks to your family’s financial health and security, present and future? How much cash reserves? How much debt to be reduced or eliminated? How much to pay your taxes, in full and on time? How much to get the relevant legal documents in place?
Do you know your number(s)? Once you know your personal numbers you can then establish accurate business numbers. How much business revenue do you need to generate in order to cover your business expenses, pay your taxes, in full and on time, so there is enough left to pay for your present lifestyle and fund your family’s financial plan? There is a number. And that number is the right number for your business and your life. Until you know these numbers every money goal you set for yourself is just a guess. Or, just as bad, a random number established by something silly like how much production you need to qualify for the President’s Club conference.
There is a number. Knowing it is crucial to you building your business with the right number of clients, working the right number of hours, for the right amount of money… for you.
How Do You Shift? What has to happen for you to break free of the typical adviser syndrome of too many clients, working too many hours, for too little money to having a business with the right number of clients, working the right number of hours, for the right amount of money… for you? Here are 5 things to consider.
1. Reread this article and identify the action items. Will this be just another article you read or a call to action that makes a difference?
2. Look into the future by asking yourself this question, “If I continue to do for the next 4 years what I have done for the last 4 years, where will I be?” Do you like the answer? If not, now is the time to change course.
3. If you are a veteran, get sick and tired of being sick and tired. You’ve heard about how some overweight people look in the mirror one day and just decide their unhealthy lifestyle is no longer acceptable and change from that point forward or how cigarette smokers have an epiphany and quit cold turkey. You can do the same. At some point you are going to be absolutely sick and tired of being sick and tired of having too many clients, working too many hours, and earning too little money. Why not today? That’s why it’s called a “turning point.” There is literally a moment where things shift. It can be any moment you choose. It could be right now. It’s your choice.
4. If you are new in the business, don’t be mesmerized by the production of top-producers. You might want their revenue, but would you want their life? If you do what they did you’ll get what they’ve gotten… all of it. Instead of asking successful producers what they did to be successful ask, “If you knew then what you know now, what would have done to be even more successful sooner?” “What would you have done in order to have a better business anda better quality of life?” “It’s possible that what you did to be successful over the last 10 or 20 years will not make me successful in the next 10 – 20 years, so what would you do if you were in my shoes going forward?”
5. Accept the universal truths about being successful in business and in life. Truths like the Rule of 168, for example. The truth is the truth. Denying truth, looking for silver bullets to success, or hoping for a shortcut just wastes the valuable time you need to be investing to create a business with the right number of clients, working the right number of hours, for the right amount of money… for you.
Remember, how you experience this business is your choice. Your success will not be determined by the market, the economy, or all of the world events outside of your control. Choose to have the right number of clients, working enough to have a successful business leaving enough time for a great quality of life, and to earn all the money you need for your present and future lifestyle.
It’s a great time to be a Financial Advisor!
In order to help you improve working fewer hours, acquiring the RIGHT clients, and making more money, join us LIVE for this Feb. 20 training session by clicking REGISTER NOW
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