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Setting the Stage for a Strong 2016

By Ray Sclafani | October 29, 2015

While the final quarter of the year tends to be a hectic time, it’s a critically important time for your business. If you want to have a strong first quarter of 2016, you need to finish out 2015 with a flourish. Advisors who are still scrambling in January to make their previous year’s goals all too often find themselves like Sisyphus – doomed to spend the rest of their year endlessly rolling a huge boulder up a steep hill.

If you want to ensure that you hit the ground running after the holidays, now is the time to get a jumpstart on several essential year-end activities. 

Plan to make your year-end client reviews count – While it’s not essential that your annual client reviews take place at the end of the year, it’s still important that you at least touch base with every client at the end of the year to discuss their progress towards their financial goals. These reviews not only serve to help solidify your existing relationships, they also provide an opportunity to identify and gather additional assets and ask for introductions. If you make the most of these meetings by preparing in advance, involving team members and following-up on action items, it will immensely help in priming your prospect pipeline for 2016.

Get a jump on tax planning – There’s perhaps no better way to endear yourself to wealthy clients than by showing them ways to reduce their tax burden, whether through harvesting losses, maximizing tax-deferral opportunities, minimizing required minimum distributions, or a host of other tax-advantaged strategies. Start reaching out now and strategizing with your clients’ CPAs to allow sufficient time to better navigate the tax planning waters.

Start preparing your year-end letter, holiday cards and annual client survey – By planning ahead you plan better. The end of the year presents an opportune time to craft a heartfelt letter of appreciation that summarizes the past year, acknowledges the trust your clients place in you, encourages introductions, and solicits feedback on ways you can improve the client experience. Survey clients thoughtfully. Don’t simply rely on a generic broker-dealer survey. Develop your own pointed questions that will enable you to accurately gauge the level of engagement of each individual client.

Revise your business plan for 2016 - Your business plan is your roadmap for the coming year. Inevitably, things will have changed over the past twelve months that impact your revenue, growth and staffing assumptions. Make sure that these changes (positive and negative) are accurately reflected in your plan for the coming year so that individual and team goals aren’t either too easily attained or rendered unfeasible.

At the end of the day (and the end of the year) client advocates are the lifeblood of your business. With proper year-end planning, you’ll foster stronger relationships that engage and activate your clients to help propel your business into the New Year.

Coaching Questions from this article:

  1. Exactly where are you versus your goals for 2015?
  2. What unexpected events have either positively or negatively impacted your progress towards the goals you established at the beginning of the year?
  3. What steps do you plan on taking between now and the end of the year to set the stage for a productive 2016?

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Topics: Organizing Priorities Business Development Planning

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