Why settle for average?
Best Practice Advice & Sales & Marketing for Professional Services & Sales Tips

Why settle for average?

June 22, 2018

by Tony Vidler  CFP logo   CLU logo  ChFC logo

Advisers frequently settle for being average, and it is definitely not because they want to be average, but because they don’t really know what it takes to elevate their performance exponentially.

 

They often ask how one professional can be so much more successful than they are and assume that there is some magic at work.

 

The differences between the high performers and the average ones are not magic, and nor are they unachievable.  In fact, they are mostly about being better organised, being more transparent, and communicating better.  These are elements that any adviser can work on immediately.

 

High performers are better at understanding their clients key expectations:

  • Listening and understanding their needs
  • Being continually trustworthy
  • Depth and breadth of industry information the adviser can provide
  • Being a problem solver
  • Timely and personal, not mechanical, communication
  • Overseeing the family’s financial affairs – not marketing products to them
  • Delivering high level personal service

 

They get more information and know their clients better.

 

They listen better.

 

High performers also focus on the financial factors that their clients care most about, which are:

  • Meeting investment performance expectations
  • Protecting investments from downside risk
  • Making them fully aware of fees all the time
  • Helping create a financial plan and keeping it current
  • Using current technology for access and reporting
  • Coordinating and organizing their financial documents
  • Providing appropriate insurance solutions – and only for as long as they actually need them

 

They are focused on what matters to the client.

 

They put the clients interests first.

 

The high performers core business attributes?

  1. Their team works as a unit and practices effective delegation
  2. Everyone in the business has clear roles and responsibilities
  3. They deliver a consistent client experience
  4. They do not try to be the experts in everything, but bring in the right experts their clients need
  5. Achievement focussed, with high energy levels and high job satisfaction
  6. They focus on face-to-face communications wherever possible.  The telephone or email is a secondary preference.
  7. They are proactive in tough times – and raise the communication levels.

 

They play to other people’s strengths.

 

They have high expectations.

 

Compare this to the attributes of the less-than-average adviser:

  • It is all about me, the adviser.  “What is in it for me” is the dominant mindset
  • Minimal delegation, and adviser tries to be the “main man”
  • Blurry roles and responsibilities within the firm, if indeed there is actually a “firm”
  • Non cohesive and inconsistent client experiences
  • Adviser tries to do, and be, everything.
  • They project their own value based on market movements
  • There is a strong transactional approach, coupled with a “follow what’s hot” mindset
  • Opinionated, and with a narrower knowledge base
  • Tend to be sedentary, often on the phone or at the desk for bulk of the day
  • Status consciousness, with accompanying money focussed
  • High stress and angst, accompanying relatively low job satisfaction

 

As the two types of adviser are compared it becomes obvious quite quickly that the difference between the high performers and others largely begins within the advisers own mindset and attitude.  Particularly the attitude towards clients.  The approach they take to their clients would appear to be the primary point of difference when you get right down to it.

 

Combining that attitude with some sound commercial and management skill and a willingness to invest in building a business rather than executing transactions is the “magic” if there is any.

 

Building leverage within the business and the customer experience with a great support team that plays to individuals strengths then leads to exponential growth.  Add in constant quality communications and a client service focus which improves account retention and you have a winning business model.

 

It begs the question:  If that is all it takes, why would anyone settle for average?

 

You might also be interested in this related article:
Great Advisers Stay Simple
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Comments (3)

  • Thanks Tony , all great insights and run across the board in other businesses too. Agreed don’t settle for average. Thanks i enjoyed reading this especially the brings in the best experts for the clients needs line. Karin

    Karin Hanna
    • Thanks Karin. I would think that these differences are broadly applicable across pretty much any professionals services practice.

      tonyvidler
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