Three Fail-Safe Ways to Jumpstart Growth

Beverly Flaxington

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

We are in a lull right now. Unless we acquire another advisory firm, our numbers will be flat or negative this year. Overall asset growth is sluggish for obvious reasons, but it is the top-line number I worry about most. My advisors are well paid and do not seem inclined to work harder than is necessary to keep the clients happy. I am looking for a shot in the arm – something to jumpstart our growth and get everyone energized.

Jon T.

Dear Jon,

I like the image of “jumpstart.” It makes me think that you know you have people who can do what’s needed; they just need a fire lit to do so. Let me offer three things that I have found always work to both establish a growth mindset and move people into action.

  1. Set goals. It sounds simple and apparent. You probably will be saying, “We have goals,” but I encourage you to take another look. Are those goals specific enough? Are they allocated per person? Are they well communicated? Are they being discussed and measured? Is each person reminded about their goal on a regular basis? This is one area where I find most firms assume everyone knows and where communication can be extremely beneficial.
  1. Empower your people. Give them the tools and skills that are necessary. Your advisors may believe they are very competent at investment management and at client management, but they may think they are not so skilled when it comes to selling. While sales skills are too often looked down upon, they also scare people who don’t view themselves as salespeople. Training, coaching, access to tools and information – these are all important things to provide. The more confident and capable they are, the more risk they will take in this area.
  1. Create a sales culture. Review your support infrastructure. Do you have a workable CRM that everyone is using? Do you have a clear follow up process to make it easy to create a pipeline and move prospects along? Do you have regular meetings to review sales practices and talk about wins and losses? In most advisory firms sales comes from referrals, client or Center of Influence related. Be sure to work together proactively to review accounts, talk strategy and share ideas. And it should go without saying, but sales culture involves aligning compensation too; make sure there are appropriate incentives and that people are recognized for their sales successes.

If you dedicate some time to make sure you are at least 75-80% solid in all three of these areas, I will be surprised if you don’t find your advisors becoming much more engaged in growing that top line!