If you’re a financial advisor who has been in the business for a number of years, these steps may seem elementary to you. Perhaps you feel you’ve surpassed these goals, or touched on everything on this list. But the fact of the matter is, these aspects of your business can always use revisiting and refining. The vision of your business is bound to change as the industry changes, or as your clients’ needs change as a result of the current economic environment. Naturally, as your vision changes, so does everything else n its wake—not in a drastic way, but enough that paying attention to the subtle details can make a huge difference for your business and your growth.
Creating your vision: This isn’t just about determining the size of your team or articulating your marketing strategy, it’s about understanding the impact you hope to have for your clients now and in the future. In order to do this, you have to have an incredibly clear understanding of the type of client you are targeting and how you plan to gain access to them, and eventually help them. Perhaps you specialize in 401(K) planning for construction companies. The vision you have for how, and at what rate, your business will grow will be very different than if you’d specialized in wealth planning for divorced women.
Network, network, network: Now that you have a clearer idea of your target market, it’s an opportune time to start telling everyone about it. This doesn’t mean that you need to stick to networking events that target construction companies or divorcees, you just need to be clear with whomever you’re networking that those are the cases in which you specialize. This will make your elevator pitch much more succinct and memorable. In fact, be as detailed as you can when networking. People are apt to attach much more importance to what you’re saying if they can hold onto a detail. Mentioning that you’d like to be connected to the Human Resources Representative at Exact Contracting by name is much more likely to strike a chord with someone than a vague reference. Who knows, they might know someone in that exact role somewhere else, or have another contact at Exact Contracting who can help you out. Plus, your specificity is evident of how clearly you relate to your specific client base.
Planning for the Future: Understanding the vision for your business for the next 90 days is important, but, in order to create a truly sustainable business, it’s crucial to consider what would become of it if you were no longer around to run it. While a sobering thought, the upside is that thinking this through will actually help you run a better business today. For example, when building out your team, think about the ideal younger generation key-players you’d like to have involved in your business today, who could also help run it in the future once you’ve passed your vision and practice management techniques onto them. Training these advisors now will not only help you scale your business, it will also bring those younger advisors into the process of co-creating the vision for your business. This will make them more committed to its success, and better prepared to step into a larger role when the time requires it.
Process & patience: Building a process takes a certain amount of patience, because it often requires some initial failure as you create a routine that’s appropriate for your business. In the end, however, it’s worth every effort. Processes around certain aspects of your business, including client acquisition, client onboarding, and client review, are all crucial to making your job easier. More importantly, however, these processes will make your clients feel you’re in tune with what they want to achieve and understand the roadblocks they might encounter along the way. Eventually, you’ll know your clients so well that the personalization your relationships take on will be what defines them, but initially this momentum will come from the processes you’ve created to ensure you’re being consistent and thorough with every client encounter.
Loyal Client Advocates & Professional Advocates: Financial advisors who have been in the business for a number of years understand the importance of having client and professional relationships that end up serving as potential referral sources. These client and professional advocates essentially fill the gap created by the inherent lack of dedicated salesforce that entrepreneurs experience. The mistake that many advisors make is failing to put a definite process and expectation in place for each of these relationships. This may sound self-serving, but consistency and accountability are the only way these referral sources will remain fruitful on a consistent basis.
Coaching Questions from this Article:
Are you truly aware of your vision and your unique value proposition, and are you pulling these threads throughout every aspect of your business?
Are you using networking opportunities to their fullest to connect with your target markets either directly or indirectly?
What processes do you have in place for your business and are they working? How can they be improved or revisited on a consistent basis to ensure they are in keeping with the growth of your business?