Last but Not Least: Focus, Focus, Focus

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This year, I’ve devoted my blog posts to what advisors can do to enhance production. Specifically, how do you sell more?

We’ve discussed selling aptitude. For some, selling is easy. For others, it’s difficult. Although sales skills can be learned, we all start with a baseline of what comes naturally to us.

We’ve addressed activity, both on a short-term and long-term basis. Short-term activity aims to increase revenue in the next 12 months, while long-term strategies typically don’t yield revenue for 24–36 months.

We’ve also looked at attitude—whether that’s contentment or complacency, feeling that enough is enough, or shunning the whole concept of sales as somehow impure.

What have we learned? The framework of aptitude, activity, and attitude is a useful approach for assessing your or another advisor’s rainmaking potential, as well as for overcoming the challenges of making rain.

As we approach the end of the year and the end of this series, there are three words of wisdom I’d like to leave you with: focus, focus, focus.

First, focus on a production goal. Whether you measure it in GBDC, AUM, or the number of new ideal clients you bring on in a year, write down a realistic goal and a stretch goal. Every month, measure what percentage of the year is gone and what percentage of the goal you’ve achieved.

Second, focus on activity. Use the 20-point system and assign points for completing revenue-generating activities. Track the number of points you achieve per day or per week. Write it down and monitor how much of your time truly goes to making rain. Don’t stop doing the things that made you successful in the first place!

Third, focus on long-term strategies if possible. When you have enough cash flow to pay your bills without being dependent on the checks you receive in the next six months, start thinking about long-term activities to drive growth. Select a strategy that allows you to shift to high recurring revenue or a more attractive niche, or pursue merger or acquisition approaches that require significant investment.

It’s amazing how busy we can be without doing the things that make money. But remember, no matter how great you are as a financial planner, you won’t have anyone to help if your firm has no clients.

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

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