Two Approaches to Landing New Clients
March 24, 2015
by Dan Richards
What does it take to build a high-performance team? My analysis shows that the best advisors follow two distinct approaches.
Last week, in my article The Skill Set for Exceptional Performance, I featured an email from a successful advisor named John on managing staff to support continued growth. John, the co-managing partner of an 11-person team, said that dealing with staff as they’ve grown has been by far his biggest challenge.
I also quoted one expert who observed that “what it takes to build an initial business, which is driven by the founders’ skills and energy, is very different from what it takes to run a bigger business, where you need to lever the skills of employees.” To learn more, I hosted a series of lunches with top-performing advisors to talk about what it took to build their teams. The advisors at those lunches identified seven discrete steps (shown in the graphic below) for building and running the teams that are integral to their businesses
Last week’s article talked about the role of mission and culture. This week’s piece outlines what I heard about definining roles to make a team run smoothly.
Generalists with specialized expertise
Joanne is one of three partners in a super team with 18 advisors and support staff spread across two offices. She described her team as a group of like-minded people with complementary skills.
“In a world that’s getting more complex, clients demand specialized advice,” she said. “All of our advisors are generalists who can talk knowledgeably about any aspect of clients’ finances and know enough to ask the right questions. But then each advisor has one or two areas of specialization on which they are experts and have deep expertise – asset allocation, tax planning, trust structures, life insurance and annuities, direct investments in real estate or charitable giving. Those advisors go to conferences and invest the time to make sure they’re at the leading edge in their areas of focus.”
Philip was one of three advisors at the lunches from a large team that has hired a chief operating officer to manage daily operations.
“We take the view that the only really good use of time for advisors is being in front of clients and prospects,” he said. “We’ve structured everything we do to allow us to focus on client-facing activities. Five years ago we hired a CPA with experience in the investment industry to run our day-to-day operations. All the support staff report to her and she’s put in systems to automate every aspect of our business, including tracking the experience that clients have working with us. The only area that she doesn’t get involved in relates to portfolio construction – that’s managed by one of our partners who has a CFA and oversees a couple of outside firms to whom we’ve outsourced the investment process.”
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