The Talent Shortage is VERY Real

b2ap3_thumbnail_TALENT-NEEDED.jpgAre you looking to add great talent to your team? Well, if you will need someone in the next six months, the time to start your search is NOW!

Finding great talent is becoming more and more difficult because there are fewer great candidates available. The average age of advisors is over 50 and 41% of advisers are 55 or older according to Cerulli research. The average time for a firm to hire an advisor has nearly doubled from 2009 to 2017 according to a study by DHI Hiring. There are also fewer and fewer college graduates that pursue financial planning degrees, as well as fewer opportunities in college – notably the closure of the CFP program at LSU here in Baton Rouge.

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5165 Hits

Build it and thev will come...

Build it and thev will come...

I know, I know.. .that phrase is used over and over again but it fits perfectly with what I want to talk about.

My clients, for the most part, are experiencing solid growth right now. Their phones are ringing, they are getting referrals and they are enjoying what they do. Okay, now does that sound like bragging.. .not meant to be. Just a statement of fact.

Truthfully, I'm not really that surprised because they are focused and committed or they wouldn't have called me and they certainly wouldn't pay me. We work together to identify the holes and what is causing pain and then fill those holes and eradicate the pain.

But, I still wondered, what was happening that caused the door to swing open so wide and I think I figured out (and one of my clients articulated it beautifully). My clients are ready to receive new clients. They have hired the best folks, they have put processes in place, they have a strategic plan and they are positioned to be a resource to their community, their clients, their referrals sources, their friends and their family.

It's really that simple. I believe when you are struggling with being so involved in the day to day operations of your firm, you are simply not ready to receive and you are basically self-sabotaging your growth.

Not that hard of a concept and yet so many have not figured it out.

Get your shop and your personal life in order...build it and they WILL come!

Take care, Ginny

5380 Hits

You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression.

You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression.

So many times, I see advisors work so hard to get a get referral. They get one and low and behold, the referral becomes a client. So what happens now?

The advisor is now on to the next conquest because that's what we've told you. Don't break stride, keep your momentum going. But the problem here is that you have this brand new client, a bird in the hand so to speak and you are not spending anytime on the front end with them, welcoming them, walking them through the transfer process, writing them a handwritten thank you note and including a small gift as a thank you.

No where in your relationships with your clients do you have a better opportunity to establish how the relationship will progress than in those first few months. Make sure you have a process for someone in your office to follow. I would suggest it include the following items:

  1. Write a handwritten thank you note thanking them for becoming a client (should come from you).

  2. BEFORE the transfer process begins, send them a letter letting them know how it work. For example, remind folks who have checks on their investment accounts to stop writing checks and give them an idea of when their money will become available again and when they'll receive checks from the new custodian. Let them know if there are any complicated NON-ACAT items that will come slowly. Reassure them that you are watching this every day and will notify them immediately if there are any issues.

  3. Have someone from your office contact them at LEAST once a week to engage them in conversation and ask them if they have any questions.

I recommend 10 touches in the first 90 days with 6 of those being in the first 60 days.

 What's going to happen here? First and foremost, you have a happy and well-served client. Secondly, they are going to be so ecstatic with your service, they will be chomping at the bit to tell their friends. Thirdly, they are now conditioned to refer folks to you.

 Give it a try and see what happens. You will be establishing a firm foundation for your client relationships!

1991 Hits

Privacy please...

Privacy please...

Just a quick reminder to everyone that talking on your cell phones about client business can lead to a violation of privacy.For instance, my neighbor who also works from home just had a very angry conversation in his front yard on his cell phone while waiting for someone to come by. I could hear just about every word whether I wanted to or not. He is not a financial advisor but is in a business that has high needs for privacy. NOT a very smart move.

Cell phones are convenient and we all have them...I'm not advocating the discontinuation of their use. However, I do want to remind you that there are ears listening and you never know who is hearing what and if it might get back to a client - even the largest cities seem to get very small when something like this takes place. 

Don't put yourself in this position. If you're discussing client business out of the office, do it in your car with the windows rolled up. Don't do it at Starbucks over a cup of coffee thinking that because you're in a corner speaking low, no one can hear you. Nine times out of ten, this is not going to be true.

Not only will you lose a customer if it gets back to them, you have opened yourself up to potential monetary damages AND damaged your reputation. It's just not worth the risk.

Take care...

2117 Hits

No matter how hard vou wish it...thev won't come flying in vour window...

No matter how hard vou wish it...thev won't come flying in vour window...

Qualified prospects...they're out there in numbers greater than we've ever seen! But one thing has not changed...no matter how hard you wish it, they will not come flying in your window and land in your lap. You still have to do the work.Now, when I say work, I mean having a well-thought out plan of reaching your ideal clients. This might include:

1. Identifying the clients you want to duplicate. You know, I've said it before but I'll say it again. People have an innate desire to help others if they can. Your clients want to help you...it gives them a good feeling to match you up with their friends and have the relationship be successful. One word of caution here. Make sure you have educated your clients as to your referral process so they know what their friends and family can expect from you when being contacted.

2. Talk to your Center's of Influence. Again, as I've said before, these folks are just as befuddled as your clients. Break down all the rhetoric for them so they can break it down for their clients. They'll appreciate the simplicity you are trying to bring to their lives and know their clients will appreciate it as well!

3. Write, write, write...the media is hungry for information right now. Be a resource for your local paper. Again, it all comes down to keeping it simple. However, don't expect them to come to you. They will value and treasure you if you send them well thought out and written pieces that are ready to go. If you see some big news that day, be the first to call the business editor and find out what you can do to help them communicate it. Do they want to interview you?

You get the idea. It really doesn't have to be hard. It just has to be a priority, well thought out and consistent. This is how you keep your pipeline flowing.

A parting thought.. .if you don't have time to do these things, ask yourself why? If it's because you are spending the bulk of your day in your back office, this is a recipe for disaster. No matter how hard you work, this will NEVER change until you decide to change it by hiring a coach to help you figure out what you can delegate and to whom.

What are you waiting for?

Take care and let me know your thoughts. Ginny

2004 Hits

Get Over It

Get Over It

Qualified prospects...they're out there in numbers greater than we've ever seen! But one thing has not changed...no matter how hard you wish it, they will not come flying in your window and land in your lap. You still have to do the work.Now, when I say work, I mean having a well-thought out plan of reaching your ideal clients. This might include:

1. Identifying the clients you want to duplicate. You know, I've said it before but I'll say it again. People have an innate desire to help others if they can. Your clients want to help you...it gives them a good feeling to match you up with their friends and have the relationship be successful. One word of caution here. Make sure you have educated your clients as to your referral process so they know what their friends and family can expect from you when being contacted.

2. Talk to your Center's of Influence. Again, as I've said before, these folks are just as befuddled as your clients. Break down all the rhetoric for them so they can break it down for their clients. They'll appreciate the simplicity you are trying to bring to their lives and know their clients will appreciate it as well!

3. Write, write, write...the media is hungry for information right now. Be a resource for your local paper. Again, it all comes down to keeping it simple. However, don't expect them to come to you. They will value and treasure you if you send them well thought out and written pieces that are ready to go. If you see some big news that day, be the first to call the business editor and find out what you can do to help them communicate it. Do they want to interview you?

You get the idea. It really doesn't have to be hard. It just has to be a priority, well thought out and consistent. This is how you keep your pipeline flowing.

A parting thought.. .if you don't have time to do these things, ask yourself why? If it's because you are spending the bulk of your day in your back office, this is a recipe for disaster. No matter how hard you work, this will NEVER change until you decide to change it by hiring a coach to help you figure out what you can delegate and to whom.

What are you waiting for?

Take care and let me know your thoughts. Ginny

I am frequently amazed when I work with advisors and we begin a discussion of their personal goals, most of the time which include working less hours and then they say to me "Oh, I can't cut back that much, I'll be working less than my staff". Seriously, this is what they say and I say "Yes and...?" For some reason, you folks have it in your brain you have to be the first one there and last one to leave. To that, I ask, why are you hiring staff then?

You are the team's leader and you have a responsibility to be clear-headed, thoughtful in your actions and forward thinking. How can you do this if you are always exhausted by working, probably getting very little (or worse, no) exercise AND on top of all of this, during turbulent markets, worrying about your clients all the time.

TAKE SOME TIME FOR YOURSELF EVERY WEEK! Take an afternoon off, take time in the middle of day to exercise, read, spend time with your family, whatever but do it away from the office and get over the fact that your staff are there working. That's what you are paying them for!

Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

As always, if I can be of any assistance go ahead and drop me a line or visit me online

1960 Hits

Get it in Writing!

Get it in Writing!

I frequently work with clients who tell me they're having difficulty with their staff. No one knows who's supposed to do what, there is frequent redundancy in work, there are clashes among staff over who is supposed to do what. Does any of this sound familiar? If it does, my next question would be, do you have Position Statements for each of your staff including you? If not, this is more than likely the cause of the discourse.

Again, you've heard me say this...most of us did not get into business for ourselves to manage folks. However, if you're going to have staff, either you're going to have to do it or you must hire someone to do it - those of you who know me know I always advocate the latter...a good COO can solve many of these problems. However, one step you can take without hiring someone is to make sure everyone in your organization has a Position Statement - a document that lays out very carefully what they are specifically responsible for within your organization. 

You write it (or hire someone like me to assist you), knock it around with the staff member until its accurate (there are more than likely things they are doing you don't even realize and others you assume they are doing and they are not) and then you both sign it. This document then becomes the basis for reviews, bonuses, etc.The other thing it does is it clarifies very carefully what everyone is doing. There is no more bickering over it, no more redundancy and it helps your organization run more efficiently and smoothly. It also empowers the staff members to make decisions in their area of responsibility and become experts in those areas.

You can also include a comp plan in this document if you'd like. However, either way, you should share the pages of the document that outline responsibilities with every member of the staff (post them on an intranet, put them in the employee manual but make sure everyone knows what everyone else is doing).

Let me know if I can assist you in this endeavor and as always feel free to visit my website for more info. Take care, Ginny

1959 Hits

What Do Your Clients Think About You and Your Firm...Why Don't You Just Ask Them?

What Do Your Clients Think About You and Your Firm...Why Don't You Just Ask Them?

When was the last time you asked your clients what they really think about you and your firm? What do  they value and what do they really not value that might be taking up an inordinate amount of your time?

Why does it make sense to be doing something that might not even be valued by your clients? It doesn't so now is a good time to find out exactly where you should be focusing your time.

My favorite resource for finding out is Advisor Impact's Client Audit http://advisorimpact.com/ussite/aboutus.html. Their survey methods allow you to get the best information not only on what your clients value and don't value but also provides opportunities for you to have high impact conversations with clients as well as marketing opportunities. I recommend my clients conduct this survey every two years.

So don't guess, get out there and ask!

As always, if you have any questions feel free to call me or visit my site and see how I can help.

1977 Hits

Office Clutter... time to take it seriously

Office Clutter... time to take it seriously

Okay, I will admit we all have different work styles. I myself, prefer order. A place for everything and everything in its place. I like lists - lists of things to do - lists of things I want do. A way to keep order and compensate for my horrible short term memory. 

Still, I occasionally go into client's offices and what I see is nothing short of a natural disaster. It looks like a funnel cloud ransacked the place. Piles of papers, files, post it notes, magazines, books...you get the picture. And enviably, they tell me, "but I work best in chaos" and to that, I say.. .what a crock!

Nobody works well in that kind of situation and let me tell you what I believe the biggest reason for this is (in my opinion)...it's overwhelming, it's depressing, it's a big reason that so many people become "frozen" by their daily work and can't make any progress. Additionally, when you keep files and loads of paper in your office, you reduce the efficiencies in your office by slowing down retrieval and access by your staff or yourself to documents you need. They are not where they should be and subsequently, this slows down the flow of work, sometimes to a crawl as you and/or your staff take precious time to search for what they need,  many times that being one piece of paper.

Here is a link to a book on that for $9.95 will  walk you through decluttering your office space (and along the way address your excuses for  not doing so and the rewards of completing this task). It might not sound important but it is! It can, in extreme cases, have a large impact on how  much you and your staff get work accomplished and feel about your workspace and in very extreme cases, cause a compliance nightmare or something to be dropped or poorly handled for a client.

Now get moving!

Call me or visit my site, if I can assist. Ginny

1950 Hits

Misplaced Loyalty?

Misplaced Loyalty?

Under- or non-performing employees...I see it in nearly every engagement I have. But as I've said before, financial advisors are sweethearts. You are among the most loyal folks I have ever met which is why you are so good at what you do best which is care for your clientele.

However, sometimes this loyalty can be misplaced and lead to problems within your firm...some you might not even realize.

When you have under- or non-performing employees, you are requiring your above-average employees to carry a greater burden. They're not fools.. .they know why this is occurring. It's because you don't have the guts to get rid of this person and you're saying "hey, I care more about this one employee than I do about the good of my team". Talk about resentment!

Additionally, when you finally do pull the trigger on this person, you will more than likely see relief on their face. Why, because you've done something for them they didn't have the guts to do to themselves. Usually the employee who is terminated reveals they were not happy and how could they be? They know they're not up to par.. .how stressful that must be!

Now is the time...take a look at your staff. Do you have all A players? If not, do you have B's that can become A's? Or do you have some C's in there that you know are never going to be up to par and it's time to send them on to the next chapter in their work life? If so, do it now! Don't wait another day.. .you'll be glad you did and they may just thank you as well. I know your staff will.

Take action and take care, Ginny

1979 Hits

Do You Know What Your Mission Is?

Do You Know What Your Mission Is?

What is it? Why do you need one? How do you go about getting one in place?

Your mission statement communicates the soul of your firm to many different audiences. To your prospective clients, it drives home the fact that you are serious about adding value and positive outcomes to their lives. To your staff, it reminds them every day why they are doing what they do and how important their contribution is. Most importantly, to you, it should serve as a guideline. When new opportunities come your way, you should remind yourself of your mission statement and ask yourself if this opportunity is in line with where you want your firm to go.

How do you arrive at your mission statement? Your mission statement is something that comes from your heart and your head. It's a combination of intellect and emotion. It is the phrase that articulates why you got into to this business, why you want to be a fiduciary, why that is so important, why you want to be the best at what you do and what is it that you're going to be the best at?

If you already have a mission statement, congratulations! You are in the minority. If you have not, start to think about it now. Jot down notes, ask your staff, ask your family. Then, take some quiet, reflective time and write it out. Once you have it where you want it to be, frame it and put it in various locations throughout your office as a constant reminder to you and everyone why and how you do what you do so well.

If you'd like some examples, give me a call or send me an email at ginny@thestrategicimplementer.com.

1982 Hits