What’s Your Number?

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Like it or not, tacit ranking of advisers in the industry is based on how much business they do each year. Undoubtedly, there are many filters and judgment calls regarding that data. High production does not necessarily equate to “better” production.

Still, when a new year begins, most advisers think about their business and how they will spend revenue earned personally or professionally. By necessity, that requires forecasting the amount of revenue to be generated in the 12 months ahead. Some advisers stretch and guesstimate high; others establish production projections analytically and moderately; still others—who may be more conservative—hope to exceed their own expectations. Does setting a revenue goal make a difference?

Yes! In fact, having a goal and focusing on it throughout the year is a best practice of large producers. In this case, the definition of “high” is arbitrary. One adviser’s production might be high to another and yet low to a third. Clearly, the opinion that counts most is that of the adviser him- or herself. Advisers whom the industry categorizes as high producers seem to decide on a specific number and stay focused on it, as well as on the activity necessary to make the number a reality.

Here is food for thought as you think about your production in 2011:

  • Do you set a production goal each year?
  • Do you have a system (even informal) to actively monitor and track progress toward that goal throughout the year?
  • At any time throughout the year, do you know exactly where you are in relation to your production goal?
  • Do you earnestly enjoy meeting people and forming new relationships that may translate into revenue?
  • Do you attend events and/or create opportunities to meet new people frequently?
  • Is it easy and natural for you to talk about what you do with new people you meet?
  • Do you sincerely enjoy the process of deepening a relationship with an acquaintance or prospect?
  • Do you find it natural to ask for referrals?
  • Do you get as many of the kind of referrals as you want without asking?
  • Do you know where all of your clients’ money is and whether or not it is with you?
  • Do you have a realistic definition of an ideal new client?
  • Are you always prospecting?
  • Do people you know think of you as charismatic?
  • Is it easy for prospects and clients to develop a deep trust in you?
  • When meeting with clients, is it natural for you to listen about twice as much as you speak?
  • Is it natural for you to discover what is foremost in your client’s mind?
  • Are you told that you make financial information easy to understand?
  • Do you stay focused on behaviors and activities that increase revenue throughout the entire year?
  • Do you use your time to increase revenue, even when there are other things that compete for attention?

The more “yes” answers that come naturally to you, the more likely you are to have high production.

Joni Youngwirth
Managing Principal of Practice Management
Commonwealth Financial Network
Waltham, Mass.

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