Adaptation. ad·ap·ta·tion. –noun. a slow modification of individual and social activity in adjustment to cultural surroundings.
In the financial advisory business, it’s all about prospecting—and prospecting rapidly changes. Your ability to adapt to an ever-changing market is what differentiates the wildly successful from the moderately content. So what do you need to be doing, in today’s market environment, to not only survive but to thrive?
Let’s examine four key elements to your practice that you must perfect if you want to thrive in today’s marketplace.
#1 – Your Image: Are You Noticeable in the Crowd?
Is your image what you want it to be? You must project a professional image in all aspects, including your business name, logo, taglines and marketing materials. You must adapt your image to fit your prospective and current clients, and the current market landscape. Your materials also need to all provide a consistent theme. A uniform, consistent look on everything that goes out from your office is a key factor in providing peace of mind to your clients about your professionalism.
Take a hard look at your Web presence. Does your website stand out? What image do your Web and social media present to current and future clients? More than ever, your prospects are researching you and your firm before ever meeting in person. Make sure your web image is just as strong as the image when a client walks in your office. Without a strong web presence you are losing sales you don’t even know about! Prospects Google your firm. If you’re not there, they’ll move onto someone who is.
#2 – Your Staff: Are They Helping or Hindering?
Your staff needs to be your number one asset. They should add value, peace of mind and provide consistency; not deplete resources. Is your staff adding value to your business? Are they constantly improving themselves through training? If your staff is adequately trained, they will recognize the “big picture” of your business, and constantly strive to meet long term goals. By fine-tuning your staff, you will enable your business to grow and be ready to adapt to any environment. What’s more, you’ll be bettering the personal lives of the people you surround yourself with.
#3 – Your Products: Are You Positioning the Best?
Are you still positioning products the same way you were five years ago? In today’s market, there are unique products for unique client scenarios. The 21st century product landscape changes rapidly, but with a trusted product partner, these changes can provide you a leg up on the competition, instead of another way the competition is beating you.
Do you have a product that sets you apart from other advisors in your area? Offering unique solutions, with proprietary or unique products, proves to your client that you’re looking out for their best interests and are able to adapt your thinking to provide a solution that fits their individual situation. Being well prepared on the product side of your business allows you not only to adapt to your client needs, but adapt to the changing environment.
#4 – Your Development: Are Your 2011 Growth Plans in Place?
Whom do you learn from? At the end of the day, who will pave the clearest path to your success? I respectfully submit that people who are where you want to be (higher producers, higher income earners) are the solution. The top advisors I consult make it a habit to surrounding themselves with successful people and to constantly learn from them. Study their routines. Study what works and what doesn’t. Seeing what other successful advisors do helps you know how to adapt and thrive in today’s marketplace.
Do you have a written growth plan for 2011? By aligning yourself with other top advisors, mentors and marketing partners, you empower yourself to learn from others in the field (“in the trenches”) every day like you. Set a goal to learn from the best, and do what the best do, to insure your success in 2011.
I consult with the top independent financial advisors in the country, and all of them are finalizing their answers the above questions right now. If you don’t have a plan in place for one of the 4 areas above; your image, staff, products, and development, we need to visit soon. If you don’t have a plan in place for all four – it’s urgent.
Implementers are rare in this business, as is success. Implement, adapt and thrive.