Inevitably, advisors reach a certain level of production then stall. Only a fraction of advisors break through that barrier and rise to the stratosphere. Here are five action steps that will help you become one of those who breathes the rarified air of top achievement.
1. Give people a real reason to do business with you. I’m going to cut to the chase here. Pretend I’m a prospect of yours and in the first meeting I ask, “Why should I do business with you?” If you don’t have a compelling, succinct answer, I’m gone. Your answer to my question is your value proposition and if you don’t have one, no amount of great action ideas will grow your business. So, you need to build a business that creates a legitimate value proposition that is attractive to your target market. To create that kind of business and the resulting value prop, answer these questions.
a. What does your business offer that your target market needs and is willing to pay for?
b. How do you deliver your products and services in a way that is tangible and distinguishable from the competition?
c. What desirable outcome can your clients expect from working with you?
Now, structure your business to answer those questions, wrap a short, succinct value prop around it and you’ve got the base from which you can punch through your plateau.
2. Get a little bit famous. Having a great business is nice, but if nobody knows about you, then it’s a waste. You’ve got to raise your profile in your target market. Get interviewed, get published, take some controversial stands on current events and use social media. Become known as an authority in your local market so you become the “go to” person when folks in your target market have money in motion. Court the media by taking them out to breakfast or lunch to introduce yourself. Supply them with occasional story ideas and give them genuine compliments on stories they write. Download a set of our Power Phrases to help make your media sound bites sizzle.
This strategy won’t make the phone ring off the hook but when you meet prospects belly-to-belly, they’ll say, “Oh, you’re the one I (saw, read, heard about) in…” It gives you added credibility and quickens the sales cycle.
Don’t be the greatest advisor never known.
3. Raise your account minimum. Here’s a formula that you should stick on your bathroom mirror—Last 12 month’s gross revenue = this year’s account minimum. Make that change and stick to it and you’ll see your revenue start rising rapidly. Here’s why.
a. Your average revenue per account will start rising. In almost all cases, your average account size will be less than your last 12 month’s gross revenue. So, raising your account minimum will raise your average account size which will raise your revenue. Remember, you won’t double your revenue by doubling the number of clients you have. You’ll get there by doubling the number of high-net worth clients you have which raises your average revenue per client. Raising your account minimum will add more high-net worth clients as described below.
b. Your high-net worth antennae will go up. Let’s say you raise your minimum from $500,000 to $1,000,000. Now you are forced to start prospecting in areas where $1,000,000 opportunities are congregating. Your million-dollar antennae goes up so you notice the opportunities that were always there but you never saw because you were too busy working the less complicated accounts. Million-dollar prospects become more receptive to you because now you are more exclusive and wealthy people want to feel special. You can tell these prospects that you “only take on a limited number of new clients each year” so now it’s clear that you are interviewing them just like they are interviewing you. It shows you only deal with people’s serious money.
Yes, you can make the occasional exception for “friends and family” but other than that, stick to the minimum. And yes, this may make you uncomfortable but there’s no “comfortable” way to bust out of a plateau.
4. Get belly-to-belly with the right people. As much as we’d all like to create a marketing plan that keeps the phone ringing with new prospects, the reality is, you have to get belly-to-belly with more of the right people. Growing an advisory practice is a “social” activity and you’ve got to put yourself out there in the mix. You’ve got to hangout where your desirable prospects are hanging out, but the key is to do it in a way that you are passionate about. Let’s say you love fine art. Then join one or more of the support groups at your local museum. If you love vintage sports car, then participate in those events. You’re not going to blatantly pester people at these events but within a short time, what you do will come up and there’s your opening.
5. Ask, ask, ask. There’s an old sales phrase that you’ll certainly recognize, ABC—Always Be Closing. I want you to change it to, ABA—Always Be Asking. Always ask prospects intriguing, open-ended questions. Always ask your very best clients for referrals. Always ask your key network partners how you can help them be more successful. Always ask for the order when the time is right. Your prospects and key allies aren’t mind readers. Ask questions and ask for what you want. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how often you’ll get what you ask for.
Follow through on these five ideas and 2012 will be the year that your life and business go from good to great.
Steve Sanduski, CFP®, is the Managing Partner of Peak Advisor Alliance, a financial advisor coaching and practice management resources organization. He is also a New York Times bestselling author and co-author of, Tested in the Trenches: A 9 Step Plan for Building and Sustaining a Million-Dollar Financial Services Practice. To learn more, visit, http://www.peakadvisoralliance.com/ and http://www.truewealthcommunity.com/.