The ClientWise Blog

7 Mistakes Financial Advisory Teams Will Make in 2015

Posted by Alix Purcell on Nov 11, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Bringing together a financial advisory team is a huge endeavor and very often a differentiator between solo advisors with moderate success and those who decide to team to experience incredible, sustainable, and truly fulfilling success.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020 the number of financial advisors based in the U.S. will be 32% higher than it was in 2010. This is a necessary shift, attributed to the greater demand from Baby Boomers and the consequential influx of younger investors, but it also means that there will be a natural inclination for advisors to join forces and find strength in numbers. ClientWise has partnered with advisors on teaming in several scenarios: From the industry’s top Barron’s ranked teams to those who are just starting to build. We’ve seen teaming at all levels and know that it’s the approach that makes it either your downfall or your most important decision for the future of your team.

Teaming often lends to greater productivity, more well-rounded client care, and greater focus on relationship building both between team members and clients and advisors… but only if done correctly. Otherwise, it can have the opposite effect of creating more work and alienating current clients, potential clients, and centers of influence. Statistics show that a significant number of financial advisory teams fail, and there are several reasons why:

No joint vision:
The need to have a clear vision for your business is a no-brainer. But do you have a joint vision that is shared by all members of your team? This is crucial. Involving your team members in creating the vision for your company accomplishes three things: 1) It creates a stronger vision because it is generated by the intellect of several minds working together 2) it ensures a greater level of engagement in the success of the business from all involved and 3) it creates efficiency and saves time because everyone is working toward the same goal with full knowledge of how to get there, which should help absolve you from resistance or lack of buy-in down the line.

Lack of focus: It’s very important to determine a clear and specific focus for your team. Whether this is a single focus that is shared by all the partners and producers on a team, or else several producers focusing on different areas to cover all the needs for their clients, it needs to be targeted. Strength in numbers only applies in an organized manner. Adding to chaos only creates more chaos.

Unclear roles: The best team leaders have an incredibly clear idea of what their advisors bring to the table, both in terms of their “softer” relationship-based skills and their technical skills. They understand how their team members work together to achieve their individual goals and the overall larger goals of the company. They also understand that their team members are most satisfied when they are aware of the unique value they bring to the team. Assessments like the DISC Assessment Report™, which provides insight into natural and adaptable behavior styles to help elucidate this value, are the best way for team members to collaborate.

Lack of coachability: Having a technically skilled team is important to fulfill the industry specific needs of your business, but in order to be truly a successful team, the members you hire need to be coachable. This goes for leadership too. Nobody walks into a role as a perfect fit for that specific job, and even if they do, certain changes will necessitate their ability to shift their learning or be coached through new challenges or growth. This flexibility is key to successful teams, especially in an industry like financial services where client relationships, environment, and industry regulations are constantly shifting.

Forgetting to celebrate failures: Failures are learning experiences in disguise. If you see them this way you are given a reason to celebrate them every time because it means you're getting smarter, and working through situations that will allow you greater success in the future. Celebrating as a team gets you through the frustrating aspects of failure, but it also builds comradery and allows you to grow together. If you bury, hide, or ignore failure, they effectively become taboo and you actually end up encouraging your team to avoid taking risks that could potentially improve the business. 

Inability to communicate effectively: Communication is a skill set that is actually dwindling in many, people as they rely more and more on technology to communicate with one another. But this doesn’t cut it for financial advisory teams. Advisors must be able to reach a deep level of communication with their clients and team members to ensure that everyone is on the same page, all their objectives are covered, and the overall goals are working toward the ultimate objective of the business. Our Certified Financial Services Coach Training Program™ uses the same tactics our coaches use in coaching professionals, to help financial leaders harness powerful communication tools that enhance their management skills with their teams and their relationships with clients and centers of influences.

Lack of perspective: Perspective comes to us in many forms, but the fastest way to gain perspective is to ask for it directly. Our high performance Team Insights takes a 360 assessment of teams by providing a complete picture of the team environment, through confidential employee engagement that helps define and develop strategies for growth and sustainable business practices.  Each team member has an equal voice in helping to shape team communication, structure and strategy by contributing to the custom report ClientWise prepares for the team. The report is presented at a team offsite meeting and the group works collaboratively to outline areas for change and improvement and prioritizes possible coaching objectives and areas for immediate focus.

Coaching questions from this article:

  1. Was your team created with a clear vision in mind that has been contributed to by all members?
  2. Do the members of your team have clarity around your expectations of you and their expectations of themselves?
  3. Do you have an open culture of celebrating successes and failures and offering accolades and constructive criticism across all levels when appropriate?


Certified Financial Services Coach Training Program

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Topics: Business and Operations Management, Leadership, Team Development, Goals, Trust