As a coach of financial Advisors, I get asked this question quite often. I will tell my clients to push back from the table and ask yourself a hard question: What has me believe my business is stuck? Is your business really stuck, or is it just the mood you are in today? Could it be the after effects of a long weekend or a bout of bad Chinese food. Yes, all of that stuff can affect your mood and the opinion of your business. If you have been feeling this sense of ‘stuckness’ for a while, then take the inquiry a little further: Why do I feel stuck? It is usually for one or more of the following reasons:
You are bored. Same old stuff, day in and day out. Your clients are good people but they do not inspire you. You are tired of hearing about grand kids, dental work or where is my check. You simply don’t feel challenged or inspired.
You are busy. You feel like you are running around in a circle going very fast with your phone pinned to your ear but going nowhere. Always lots of clients and lots of problems you feel more like a customer service representative than a Financial Advisor.
You are not getting enough clients. No matter what you do, it seems your assets and revenue stay the same. Despite your heroic efforts of knocking on doors, cold calling, herding plate lickers or diligently attending Le Tip your business has plateaued.
You have just lost a series of big clients and you have no idea on how you are going to replace them. You feel beat down and may have even begun to question your abilities.
You are getting diminishing returns from your marketing efforts. What worked in the past does not seem to be working for you anymore.
You just replaced your assistant. You have had 8 in the last 10 years and you are wondering why you can’t find good staff. If you only had the proper staff your business would not be stuck!
Possible solutions to your stuckness:
Bored? Time to take a vacation get away from the mix for awhile and see if that can recharge your batteries. If that works, then plan out your vacations for the rest of the year. Ideally, I recommend 1 week per quarter of down time. Remember, every professional sport has an off season except the professional sport of financial services. Imagine what would happen to a professional football player if he played 52 games a year.
Too Busy? You need to learn the art of discernment and take Napoleon the Pig from Animal Farm words very seriously “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” That wisdom applies to activities, as well as people. Distinguish who the more equal animals are! Here is a tool to help The Champion Path.
Not enough clients? First, define how many you want and why you want them. Please be specific. It is possible, that you may not initially have an answer for this except “More. Because that is what you are supposed to do.” That would be the wrong answer and a marker of why you are stuck. Second, what are your activity standards and are you hitting them? If you are asking, ‘what are activity standards?’ You are probably not measuring activity but measuring production. Hence, another reason you are stuck.
Client loss? Congratulations you just got a wake up call for you and your business. Get really clear on if you actually had a relationship with that person. I don’t mean just a client service relationship, but a real relationship beyond the business context. More than likely you didn’t. Most financial advisors who have great retention rates do so because they invest the time doing the things that truly develop strong relationships. They take time to play golf, grab a beer, duck hunt with their best relationships. Great relationships stick.
Marketing Sucks? You have probably worn it out. You have been running a quantity marketing business model when in actuality you want a quality business model. Know the difference and it will set you free. Instead of doing seminars and client appreciation events with 50 to 200 people try small 2 to 8 person specialty events. A great book/product for you would be The Champion Path where I sing the praise of discernment.
Lousy staff? It could be possible that you are a lousy leader. Ouch! Yep, I said it. I say this with a lot of love: bad dogs are usually the result of bad owners. Bad staff is usually the result of bad leaders. As a financial advisor, your specialty of knowledge is guiding your clients to make the appropriate financial decisions. The challenge lies in expanding the skill set to leading others as you build a team. Unfortunately, leadership skills are not taught to financial advisors because your sales managers just want you to focus on selling. Let’s face it, that is where you get paid. But, as I’m sure you are well aware, there comes a point where learning how to leverage your people becomes very lucrative in freeing up more of your time to – you guessed it – sell (or enroll others).
I hope these quips spark some insight for you to embrace change to get your business moving again. If you would like to spark a deeper conversation reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.gettingresultscoaching.com we have been coaching Financial Advisors since 1999 helping them make more money and have more fun.