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6 Lessons Financial Advisory Teams Should Learn From Watching The World Cup

By ClientWise | July 1, 2014

At the end of the day the services you provide as a financial advisory team might not seem all too different from what the team down the hall or the firm across the street provides to their clients. Just like in the game of soccer, the rules are pretty much the same for everyone.


In soccer, every player follows the same guidelines and finds themselves at the mercy of the refs. Advisors, likewise, follow standard guidelines as set by FINRA, their firms, and the industry overall. However, what sets advisors apart is their processes, their team members, their ability to manage their relationships, and all the other business-related and communication skills we work with advisors on at ClientWise.


We partner with advisory teams to learn what’s unique about their businesses and use that to differentiate them, so they can successfully reach and serve their target markets in what seems like an over-saturated marketplace. Over the last couple  of weeks we’ve noticed a lot of similarities in how advisory teams different themselves and experience success, and how soccer teams in the World Cup do the same.


Ensure Consistent Communication: I’ve noticed that so many World Cup games come down to a moment of incredible communication between two teammates going for a ball. Whether it’s to block it, kick it, or head it, one second lag in that communication would mean an injury, a lost opportunity, or a score for the other team. Like these players, advisors working together on a team need to be in consistent communication with each other when aligning their efforts to partner with clients and centers of influence. This provides a sense of security and consistency for their clients, and ensures the team is adequately serving and providing for their clients.


Create Strong Leadership: We write a lot about leadership at ClientWise, and the type of leadership we believe works incredibly well for top financial advisory teams is called Total Team Leadership™. This is where leaders engage in the exchange of leadership among team members to evoke meaningful contribution, showcase the strengths of all, and advance effective group decision making efforts. While leadership might seem to belong mainly to the soccer coach or a lead advisor on a financial advisory team, this isn’t necessarily true. Teams in both cases experience situations in which the team members need to make effective business decisions amongst themselves on behalf of the greater team. As such, the designated leader needs to ensure that the team members are aligned with, and involved in, the process of creating the overall team goals and executing them effectively.


Engage Raving Fans: At ClientWise we refer to “raving fans” as Loyal Client Advocates and Professional Advocates, people who consistently advocate for your work as a financial advisory team and refer you potential clients. Not only do these dedicated clients and professional centers of influence act as your referral sources, they also provide the kind of positive reinforcement you need to pursue your dreams, be successful, and maintain those positive relationships that help your business grow. If you watched the Brazil vs. Chile game this past Saturday, there’s no doubt that the home field advantage and encouragement of fans gave Brazil an edge in the final penalty shootouts


Create Standard Processes: What are the “plays” you use for your business? Just like soccer teams spend hours creating, practicing and reviewing films of their best plays, financial advisors need to give similar attention to the processes that run their business. Client Onboarding Processes, Pipeline Management Processes, Loyal Client Advocate and Professional Advocate Processes, as well as Client Review Processes, are all “plays” in your business that ensure you’re working as efficiently and effectively as possible. They also give your clients and partners a sense of consistency in working with your team.


Maintain Great Footwork: No matter how strong the processes are that you put in place as a financial advisor, you have to be willing to deviate from them and think on your feet when necessary. Your clients aren’t predictable, and neither are the players on the opposite team, so you must be sure that your leadership and your team members alike have the agility and knowledge base to make decisions on the fly, and change direction quickly if necessary.


Remember, Team Spirit is Everything: Watching the ceremony around each world cup game, where proper recognition is given to each team and each country with homage to their national anthem, I’m reminded of how important this spirit is. Not so much in the spirit of competition, but in the spirit of allegiance—to one’s nation, to one’s team. It also provides a moment of pause before each game, which gives the players time to collect themselves and reflect on their own personal objectives for the game, and how they relate to their overall team objectives. We recommend that financial advisors give similar attention to their own team spirit. Take time to get together with your teammates and enjoy the company and spirit on which your team is founded. Have fun together, but also spend time reflecting on how this relates to your overall business and professional objectives. Doing this regularly will keep your team vision aligned and your team in good spirits!


So as you’re watching the World Cup over the next few months consider these tips and how they can positively impact your financial advisory team.


Coaching Questions from this Article:


  1. Are your team members playing to their strengths or do you have your fastest players stuck in defense?
  2. Do all of the members of your team have clear roles and responsibilities that don’t overlap but rather compliment the other team members?



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Topics: Team Development

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