Throughout this series on accelerating advisor success, we’ve emphasized the importance of creating a meaningful plan, executing, and monitoring progress. There are times when an advisor is executing on their plan but the progress doesn’t measure up to expectations.
That is ok! Results that do not meet expectations don’t signal failure, they simply mean it’s time to reassess and make adjustments. Consistently and openly reviewing and discussing current results is the best way to make smart decisions and continue on the path to growth.
Benchmark and Iterate on the Business Plan
While there are tactics (i.e. client segmentation, online marketing, etc.) that are proven to work, these approaches do not always work equally well for every advisory practice every time. There are many instances in which advisors take action on the tasks that were in the original plan, yet the results do not meet the expectations.
The leader/coach must now assess whether the strategy might succeed given more time and effort, or if a change in strategy is warranted. This process of consistently evaluating results and iterating on the business plan is what sets high-performing organizations apart from the rest.
How exactly do you know whether it makes sense to continue down an existing path or adjust the strategy?
The goals and KPIs advisors develop can provide perspective as to how advisors are doing compared to their peers. The process of benchmarking advisors against others who are similar with respect to size, skill sets, resources, and goals can help you assess if a current strategy requires more time and/or effort to succeed.
If the advisor’s results are similar to those of other advisors, who ultimately succeeded using the same strategy, then additional time and coaching on the same track are probably warranted. On the other hand, if the advisor is well off-track from what others have done, it is time to reassess advisor strategies.
Benchmarking can be done using your financial institution’s advisors or you can leverage industry studies and the corresponding data sets they provide. Many practices tend to be competitive and are interested in how they are doing relative to other practices. The key is to make sure that you are using apples-to-apples comparisons and clear measures to arrive at an accurate conclusion.
One of the questions we frequently receive is on what specifically to benchmark. We have observed a wide variety of benchmarking approaches spanning from high-level financial metrics reported annually all the way down to specific activity metrics (i.e. # of client meetings) reported weekly. While there isn’t a “best” approach, we recommend focusing on metrics that are closely aligned with corporate objectives and can drive the behavioral changes you want advisors to make.
Leveraging an interactive dashboard that shows how an advisor compares with other advisors can be an effective tool in driving appropriate advisor actions. Ideally, the advisor should be able to view the dashboard each time they log into the financial institution’s advisor portal. Only a small percentage of financial institutions are truly leveraging the power of benchmarking to continually drive meaningful results.
Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that accelerating advisor success is an iterative process. Did the advisor do the task? Did they get the result? As this is discussed regularly (weekly/monthly/quarterly), the coach can provide timely and relevant support, and reassess strategies to achieve the desired goal. Over the years, we’ve learned that it is far better to take on fewer tasks that are executed to completion than it is to take on many that are only partially executed.