Ideally, the longer you’re a financial advisor the more your business grows and the more income you bring in. Until you stagnate. Then it’s like slamming into an invisible wall. You feel the impact, but you don’t see the wall or how to get around it. You might think if you sold more, you’d grow more. Yet, there are only so many hours in a day. How many more clients can you see?
What may be happening is you’re looking in the wrong place. Perhaps it’s time to take a look at some of the fundamentals of how you’re doing business.
Building strong foundations
“The growth process is like the foundation of your house. If your growth process is broken, we have to fix that foundation first,” said Angie Herbers, a business consultant for financial advisory firms.
Most people “would rather buy furniture than spend money on fixing your foundation. That’s traditionally what happens in businesses as well. It’s fun to go out there and buy the furniture. It’s not fun to fix the foundation. The foundation is usually where the problems are in the growth process, organically or inorganically,” said Herbers.
Fortunately, not all repairs or adjustments to your business foundations are expensive. Sometimes the fixes are even free.
Focusing on consistency and efficiency
Initially, Gregory B. Gagne, ChFC, an MDRT member since 1999, thought being a successful financial advisor was all about revenue. “That was the shiny hubcap that I was going after all the time. It was, ‘Oh, we’ll get more revenues, more revenues,’” said Gagne, who is a Top of the Table qualifier.
Revenue is only part of the success story, however. The fact that you have revenue doesn’t mean your foundation isn’t cracked and that your business is growing based on a strong foundation and solid fundamentals. Sustained growth comes from efficiencies, continuous improvements and repairing broken processes, or as Herbers would say, fixing a crack in your business foundation. That was certainly true for Gagne.
As the founder of Affinity Investment Group in Exeter, New Hampshire, USA, Gagne worked on internal processes and operations with his staff for months. “That was really painstaking. There were a lot of meetings for staff input,” he said. He needed his staff’s buy-in, though. Furthermore, Gagne needed to understand what staff was “actually doing on a day-to-day basis so that we could give some perspective to it and bring some efficiencies there,” he said.
One thing Gagne discovered was that he needed a service book, or pitchbook. He used to sit down with clients with a pad of paper and ask questions. That worked well enough — to a point. When Gagne re-examined it, though, he realized it wasn’t efficient or consistent. In fact, it was holding back his ability to convert more prospects to clients. There was a lack of alignment in what Gagne and his staff were telling prospects.
Now, Gagne uses a 15-slide PowerPoint presentation with anyone who wants to engage with his firm. The presentation “walks them through a kind of a commercial of who we serve, how we serve, how we get paid, what we’re going to do and what our process is,” he said.
Once Gagne and his staff began using the PowerPoint presentation, “Our ability to engage and bring on clients has been remarkable. Best thing since sliced bread. I couldn’t believe I wasn’t using it before,” Gagne said.
It aligned all of us so that everyone knows what’s going on when we’re out in the field bringing in new clients, said Gagne.
This article was based on the 2019 Top of the Table Annual Meeting presentation “Leader to leader: The power of growing organically.” (For Court of the Table and Top of the Table qualifiers only)
For more ideas to grow your business and increase your income:
- Watch “7 ideas to build a marketable practice”
- Read “Keys to never-ending growth” (MDRT members only)
- Watch “Reach Top of the Table by being 1% better”
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