This article was originally published in Financial Advisor Magazine.
The job of a financial advisor can be likened to climbing a ladder. We look upwards and are sometimes dismayed by how far away our goals seem to be. Sometimes it feels like your manager says: “What have you done for me lately?” Top producers seem to get the glory. It’s useful to “take stock” and look back on all you have accomplished.
1. You’ve made a difference in people’s lives. Reflect on your own success stories. The clients who retired comfortably because you guided them. Those who can afford a better college for their children because you helped them save. They are appreciative.
2. Longevity of client relationships. If you are established in the business, some clients have been with you since your first year as an advisor. You are their trusted advisor. They are sticking with you. How many clients like that do you have?
3. Assets under management. That’s AUM. How much do you have? How does it compare to numbers from previous years? Market action is a factor, yet clients left their money with you and in many cases added more. People trust you.
4. Advisors you started with. How many are still around? What happened to them? Many decided the business wasn’t for them. They found another career. Others didn’t hit their numbers. You did. Congratulations.
5. Certifications you’ve earned. You didn’t stop learning after getting your licenses. You continued studying. You might have the CFP designation. What others do you have? Look at those certificates on your wall from time to time. The key word is earned.
6. Years in the business. Experience has value. The market usually operates in cycles. Market volatility isn’t new to you. It is to some investors.
7. Peers at school. Do you keep in touch with others in your graduating class? What are they doing? What might they be earning? You might be one of the most successful graduates in your class. Time to think about actually attending those class reunions.
8. How much business in annuitized? Years ago, the business was transactional. You needed to ring the cash register every day. Today, a certain amount of revenue comes in as you and your client together study the market and make decisions consistent with their goals. Staying with you is another way of saying “I place my trust in you.” What’s that percentage?
9. How many accounts do you have? Attrition happens. Clients come and go for various reasons. You might have downsized your book years ago to focus on a niche market. This core group of clients has likely grown in numbers over the years. They stayed. They brought their friends. You have been building and retaining your base.
10. Production increases over the years. Production can vary with market conditions. Overall, yours has probably been increasing. If you were a company one would consider investing in, one would look for consistent earnings growth over time. Are you a “growth stock”? Probably yes.
11. Going out of your way. Earlier we talked about success stories, differences you have made in people’s lives. You have silent victories too. There are times you moved heaven and earth to help a client. Maybe you arranged from them to get cash in a foreign country because their wallet and credit cards were stolen. Maybe you brought forms to their house to get signed because it was the last day before a deadline. You’ve done things online providers wouldn’t or couldn’t do. Why? Because you are a person who sincerely cares for their clients.
I like to think advisors are in a helping profession. You care about your clients. You want to make their lives better, help them to make progress towards their goals. It’s useful to look back from time to time and survey what you’ve accomplished, and the differences you have made in people’s lives.
Click here to read more articles written by Bryce Sanders.