Be Brutally Honest: How Busy Are You Really?

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Most advisers agree they would like to increase revenue, though many often claim, “I’m just too busy.” We all frequently utter those words. But isn’t it funny that the busiest people sometimes have more time than those who are less busy? Here’s an example:

Adviser A averages 16 appointments per week, while Adviser B averages 2.5 appointments per week. Both advisers say they want to increase revenue, but it’s Adviser A who finds the time to hold more appointments. Consequently, Adviser A generates eight times more revenue than Adviser B, who is just too busy to schedule more meetings.

But if we were to be brutally honest, we’d have to ask, “What is it that Adviser B is so busy doing?” If we look at the situation more closely, we would likely discover that Adviser A is much more focused than Adviser B. And that’s no surprise, because high-producing advisers are typically not only more focused, they are also more focused on the specific activities that generate revenue.

Let’s take a look at how Advisers A and B—who provide exactly the same level of quality service to clients—use their time. While Adviser B is claiming, “I’m too busy,” Adviser A is:

  • Capturing five spare minutes to write a personal note congratulating clients for whom he just opened a 529 plan on the birth of their first grandchild
  • Using 15 minutes to call a client to schedule coffee with a business colleague to whom the client is introducing the advisor
  • Networking with a fellow business owner and Rotary Club member during a one-hour lunch

Yet, as mentioned above, it’s not simply that Adviser A captures small and large segments of time to engage in productive pursuits. It’s that the productive pursuits Adviser A embraces are revenue-generating.

Meanwhile, what has Adviser B been doing? Spending an excessive amount of time every day monitoring the market (as if he could do anything about what the market does!), pondering all that he has to do, and making endless lists of the things he would do if he only had time.

What is the point of these examples and comparisons? Each adviser gets to choose how he or she spends time, how much revenue he or she wishes to generate, and how to fulfill his or her passions. Don’t fool yourself by saying, “I don’t generate more revenue because I don’t have time.” Be brutally honest with yourself. Are you making an excuse about how you choose to spend your time?

If we are brutally honest with ourselves, we recognize that we all have exactly the same amount of time. The difference is how we choose to use it. High-producing advisers make time for what is most important to them—making time for revenue-generating activities.

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

4 thoughts on “Be Brutally Honest: How Busy Are You Really?

  1. Joni, I’ve worked with and for several advisors, and I disagree with your premise. While Advisor A&B will tell you they provide the exact same level of service, the reality is advisors in 16+ meetings per week do not know their clients, current events, and are often great liabilities when it comes to the advice they give.

    Advisor A is not networking, increasing their own knowledge, or passing on the fruits of their research to clients. They are smug with their practice, and they truth is if they were committed to growth personally they would be passing those meetings onto a junior advisor, and creating a practice that transcends them. There are few that do this at the level you mention.

    I agree, there are things Advisor B can do to cut the work they spend on clients to be more like Advisor A; but most Advisor B’s are not monitoring the market, they are trying to create a greater service to clients, a pursuit Advisor As abandoned long ago. Time isn’t the issue. Professionalism and ego are.

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  2. Joni, I agree with your article conceptually. We provide marketing consulting services to million dollar producers. The issue of time management is #1 in terms of who gets to that level of production. There is an illusion of activity with many lower level producers. When we look at their daily time logs, it’s obvious that they don’t prioritize business development activities into their daily activities and when inevitable attrition occurs, they have to scramble for new business because they don’t have a pipeline. Regards, Antoinette Rodriguez, MarFi Advisors, Inc.

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  3. The story on advisor A and B is a fair presentation of the two major personality types of advisors we have seen in our research over the past 15 months. There is a very good possibility that advisor A recognizes that the skills he/she possesses are excellent for growing and building client relaltionships and that the more operational tasks can either be delegated to staff, a special team or outsourced completely. This personality type revels in spending time with clients and is often impatient with the more mundane details of operations or investment management. This is often the personality exhibited by entrpreneurs.

    Unless advisor B has an epiphany or a major personality change, she will probably continue to hide from client contact. In fact, I would be willing to guess that dealing with clients is the least enjoyable part of her job. I am confident we could free up a huge amount of time for client development or for deepening relationships, however, she will rarely use her newly found time in this manner. Advisor B should partner with an Advisor A type or hire one so growth goals can be attained.

    The exciting development for the advisor A types, is the enormous opportunity to outsource the functions she may not enjoy or may find less important if she wishes to grow her practice.

    If the advisor B type is truly seious about freeing up time and her time is truly split among many critical non revenue generating duties than it would be highly beneficial for her to invest in staff or outsource some of the critical operational or investment management functions.

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  4. The story on advisor A and B is a fair presentation of the two major personality types of advisors we have seen in our research over the past 15 months. There is a very good possibility that advisor A recognizes that the skills he/she possesses are excellent for growing and building client relaltionships and that the more operational tasks can either be delegated to staff, a special team or outsourced completely. This personality type revels in spending time with clients and is often impatient with the more mundane details of operations or investment management. This is often the personality exhibited by entrpreneurs.

    Unless advisor B has an epiphany or a major personality change, she will probably continue to hide from client contact. In fact, I would be willing to guess that dealing with clients is the least enjoyable part of her job. I am confident we could free up a huge amount of time for client development or for deepening relationships, however, she will rarely use her newly found time in this manner. Advisor B should partner with an Advisor A type or hire one so growth goals can be attained.

    The exciting development for the advisor A types, is the enormous opportunity to outsource the functions she may not enjoy or may find less important if she wishes to grow her practice.

    If the advisor B type is truly seious about freeing up time and her time is truly split among many critical non revenue generating duties than it would be highly beneficial for her to invest in staff or outsource some of the critical operational or investment management functions.

    Like

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