A financial advisor’s business is a bit like the muscle building workout. In each case hard work produces initial success and quick results, but inevitably results hit a plateau—a growth barrier, if you will.
Many advisors are familiar with the concept, but aren’t quite sure why growth begins to flatline, let alone how to break through these barriers and resume business growth.
Experts concede advisors can’t keep climbing indefinitely and will inevitably reach that stage in their business, but assert that planning, prioritizing and persistence will do most of the heavy-lifting required to tear down these barriers.
Here are some common growth obstacles and what it takes to overcome them:
No goals, no vision
As business grows, things change. It is imperative for advisors to take time to revisit their goals and vision. “If we’ve lost sight of the vision, then you can bet we’re basically going to be all over the map,” says Simon Reilly, a business coach and behaviour analyst, who runs Parksville, B.C.-based Leading Advisor Inc. “They’re going to try to become an expert at every product that’s under the sun, and that fragments their focus and their concentration.”
Another way to get past the plateau is to set goals, says Sylvia Garibaldi, principal and founder of SG and Associates, a Toronto-based consultancy and coaching firm for financial advisors.
“We’ve heard this over and over again: Set your goals and articulate them for the year,” she says. “I would suggest that they actually visit these goals weekly so they have a good sense as to how far behind they really are. And then, more importantly, have somebody keep them accountable to those goals.”
Smaller clients often don’t need a high level of attention. Advisors can utilize their time more productively by focusing on bigger clients and delegate work involving smaller clients to junior staff, says Reilly.
“They should be delegating; they are getting caught up in doing $40 an hour work,” says Reilly. “They underestimate the position of the assistant [and] under-hire. The assistant is going to take things away from them [so advisors] can spend more time with the client.”
Garibaldi reminds advisors the all-important rule of thumb—20% of your clients generate 80% of your business.
“That just goes back to delegating some of this stuff to a junior advisor to take over, so the senior advisors can focus on prospecting and building their business,” says Garibaldi. “They’re servicing those that really aren’t very productive or fruitful for them, and so they forget about the prospecting process.”