In order to be the highly successful financial advisor that you are capable of being, you must have good work habits.  This is crucial for several reasons, foremost being a trust issue. How can one person who doesn’t have their “stuff” together expect people to pay him/her to get their stuff together?

In other words, if you are sloppy and disorganized and if you spend too much of your time on low-payoff activities that are not moving you toward your goals, then why should clients trust you to help them get their finances organized and make the smart financial choices necessary to achieve their goals?

Being trustworthy is more than just being an honest person who isn’t going to steal a client’s money or give bad advice.

Let’s explore some of the work habits of successful advisors as well as some of the work habits of not-so-successful advisors.

Over the next few installments we’ll be covering:

  • Client service work habits
  • Client acquisition work habits
  • Leadership work habits
  • Time management work habits

Let’s get started with part 1 – “Client service work habits”

Working Well Part One – Client Service Work Habits

  1. Successful advisors spend their time with clients who are profitable. Unsuccessful advisors work with too many people who are not profitable and probably don’t even know how much revenue a client must generate in order to be profitable in the first place. They say, “I know we’re losing money on each of these clients. We’ll make it up with volume.”
  2. Successful advisors are either truly comprehensive or, at the very least, do much more than most financial advisors. It’s interesting how many financial advisors do exactly the same thing as pretty much the rest of the financial advisor world but claim to be “different.” The most successful financial advisors have a value proposition that is driven by their knowledge of what is best for the client, rather than by what the client is willing to buy. Unsuccessful advisors will pretty much sell anything to anybody anytime. Whatever the client is willing to buy is what they are going to sell. They are not really “advisors” at all. They are salespeople.
  3. Successful advisors serve a finite number of clients who pay them a predictable amount of recurring revenue. They are not only clear about how much money each client must generate, they also know how much time to budget per client in order to serve the client and be profitable. Unsuccessful advisors have little clues how much time to budget to serve a client. They tend to rationalize this with silly statements like, “Every client is different, and so it’s impossible to know how much time it’s going to take to serve them.”
  4. Successful advisors are orchestrating a systematic process for delivering the promised value for each client. Unsuccessful advisors struggle to do the best they can with what they’ve got on an ad hoc basis.
  5. Successful advisors are excellent at helping clients manage their emotions about external events. Regardless of what’s happening in the markets, the economy, politics or world events, the successful advisor is able to keep her clients focused on what they can control and stick to the plan. There is no time or energy wasted writing market or economic updates or reacting to the ever-present uncontrollable events.

Unsuccessful advisors are whipped around by the clients’ emotional responses to the negative news about the market or the economy or politics or world events. They churn out long written explanations about the fiscal cliff or the debt ceiling, or what happens depending on this or that political event/election, or what happens if one European nation or other defaults on its debt.

And many of their discussions with their clients center on these events over which there is no control.

The downside, of course, is that these activities are an enormous waste of time. This is time that could have been invested in acquiring another ideal client or enjoying life or making a difference.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the work habits of successful financial advisors…

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