After being at Carson for 15 years, it never ceases to amaze me how advisors are easily distracted. Competent entrepreneurs allow themselves to forget why they are so successful.

Either they experience so much present-day success that they stop pursuing growth or they’re keen on trying new ideas, focusing too much attention on what’s next.

Advisors need to wear bifocal glasses when they look at their business – keeping their eyes on the day-to-day as well as their long-term strategic vision.

My role as an Executive Business Coach at Carson is to ensure advisors respond to everyday concerns, like client calls, and are also aware of future concerns like consolidation, margin compression and rising client expectations.

Striking a balance between everyday execution and strategic thinking are critical to a firm’s long-term success.

However, what we’ve noticed in 2020 is advisors who are focused on meticulous execution of simple strategies are experiencing big-time success. We expect this trend to continue into 2021.

Our financial advisory industry is still a trust and relationship business at its core. Those who execute, win. Period.

Carson Coaching members are having record years, as measured by revenue and new assets. Their organic growth (net new assets) varies, but is 10-15% YTD for many firms – and a few have seen upward of 30%.

We routinely stop to examine when something goes wrong. But how often do we analyze things when they are going unexpectedly well?

Shockingly, many are surprised at their success. Some even feel guilty because they’re growing while other businesses and individuals in their communities struggle.

Whenever I ask my clients, “What have you done to generate your success?” every response hovers around executing the basics – the blocking and tackling of financial services.

Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve compiled a list of the tasks advisors not only routinely complete but master. Reflect on the list to see how you can help you grow your firm.

  • Make Planning a Priority

Many advisors caught up on their planning duties during the pandemic. Planning should always be in the driver’s seat.

  • Tell an Outcome-Based Planning Story

Virtual meetings helped advisors focus on their core message. They were cleaner and more concise when explaining outcomes.

  • Educate Clients On Their Value

Clients better understand and see the value advisors provide. Demonstrating value is three-fold and involves providing additional services, increasing interaction and showing transparency in compensation.

Value proposition education starts with your team. Your mission, vision and value proposition should be well defined. Your team will educate your clients and they will become ambassadors for you, leading to referrals.

  • Increase Communication

Advisors are practicing more proactive communication than ever before! Some advisors I’ve talked to said they set a record for client interactions in a month.

Many firms already had a robust communication strategy and high-touch service. But communication looks different now. Meetings are now often virtual or via phone.

The quality of the communication is emphasized as well. Meetings are shorter and more concise. Phone calls are proactive. More resources are shared.

  • Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Many of us have become more understanding during the pandemic as we’re all processing and handling extreme circumstances. Advisors are bringing this touch of compassion to their professional lives, too. They’ve become more involved in their community, especially with struggling local businesses. They might allocate marketing and event budgets to personalized touches and gifts for clients.

  • Establish Virtual Advisory Councils

This is not as uniform a task as those preceding it, but advisors who have set up advisory councils during the pandemic or continued meeting virtually have seen huge success from it.

  • Putt in the Hard Work

Advisors I’ve talked to said they have never done so much thorough holistic planning. They’ve built plans and held numerous virtual meetings – both of which require huge amounts of energy, focus and resources.

The most successful advisors in 2020 have focused their energy on having more meaningful contact and building more trust with clients. This has helped generate revenue from existing clients and introductions from clients.

The successes are a result of executing simple concepts. Fundamentals matter. When things get tough, the fundamentals matter even more. Return to the basics, execute them well, and win the long game.

AUTHOR

Greg Opitz

Executive Business Coach
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