The Actions that Lead to Top Performance

By Dan Richards
February 4, 2014
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Dan Richards

In my 30 years of experience dealing with successful advisors, I’ve seen as many paths to success as there are successful advisors. And for those advisors with a well-established practice, that’s actually a good thing – if there was a simple formula for success, the barriers to entry for new advisors would go way down and the flood of successful competitors would put downward pressure on pricing and compensation.

Despite the lack of a universal route to success, I have found that successful advisors engage in nine key activities.

Last week’s article was the first of a two-part answer to the simple and common question: What sets top performers apart?  Last fall I wrote two columns on how advisors can attract HNW clients. (You can read those here and here).  Today’s article examines the activities that differentiate thriving practices from struggling ones.

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Attitudes, skills and activities

Recognizing the variation in how advisors operate, last week’s column suggested that almost all successful advisors share some core attitudes, common skills and consistent activities.

Six attitudes are shared by top producers:

  1. A strong drive to excel
  2. Discipline and focus
  3. Resilience
  4. Emotional stability
  5. Openness to new ideas, with a constant focus on finding better ways to operate
  6. Being patient and taking the long view on investing time and money

That’s supplemented by three skills:

  1. Engaging clients and prospects with strong questioning and listening skills
  2. Being adept at putting people at ease
  3. Projecting confidence and balanced optimism

This is far from an exhaustive list of attitudes and skills that you see among top performers – but these are the universal ones that top performers share.  You can read more about these here.

The third key is the activities that you undertake. The right attitudes and skills are the necessary ingredients to make exceptional success possible, and activities are the catalysts that translate that potential into reality. The successful activities of top-performing advisors fall into three categories, with three activities in each category. As you go through these nine activities, similar to my suggestion in last week’s article, consider writing down how you score beside each one, from a low of 1 to a high of 5.