‘Referrals’ Archive

Financial Advisor Magazine Bill Bachrach Two Bridges Article – Part 1

The above video and below text is from the website, Perfect Client reviewing Bill Bachrach’s article, ‘Crossing the Relationship Bridges.’ It’s always nice to hear others giving us a review about our work and how we train the top Financial Advisors in the world, and those who aspire to be. Enjoy!

*We will be doing a 3 part series on the article “Two Bridges” by Bill Bachrach in Financial Advisor magazine.

According to Bill Bachrach, there exist two bridges for clients.

For the first bridge, on one side, clients like you and trust you enough to do some business with you. On the other side of this first bridge, clients trust you so much they give you all of their business.

For the second bridge, on the other side, clients do all their business with you AND they introduce you to their friends, family and colleagues. This entails a very high level of trust since they are risking their relationships by referring you.

But, the key here is getting your clients to cross the bridge. By crossing the bridge, your clients are making a statement about you. You have done the work to make them come to you. Now, how do you get clients to cross the bridge? In this blog post and video, we cover Bill Bachrach’s first two strategies.

1) Don’t be in relationship denial.

As an advisor, you have to come to terms with the fact that some of your very best clients may have money with other advisors.

2) Elevate your client value using these four words:

Visual: Make everything you create visually interesting.

Engage: Engage all parties about their future and the financial decisions needed to make that future a reality.

Compelling: Make every recommendation more compelling.

Experiential: Improve the experience of working with you and every human and non-human element of your process.

But, we believe Bill Bachrach is not addressing a critical piece of the puzzle.

You have to develop the relationship first or else none of these strategies matter. Without a strong and trusting relationship, there is no way you can get your clients to cross these bridges.

Lastly, who are you developing this relationship with? Who exactly do you want to cross these bridges? At Perfect Client, we develop relationships with centers of influence, in most cases CPAs, which provides the benefit of strategic leverage. When you do that, the CPAs’ best clients are going to cross the bridge with them.

Stay tuned for part 2 and 3 of this series!

What Has Financial Training Done For You?

Watch these Financial Advisors share their whole story in the videos to follow.

Learn more about the program at:

Get Started At:


Webinar Series to Help You Launch Into the First Quarter of 2015 and Make It Your Best Year Ever.

How Can You Make 2015 Your Best Year Ever?: Enroll yourself in this 10-week Webinar Series presented by Bill Bachrach and the cumulative effect will be:

  • Inspiring your Existing Clients to do ALL of their business with YOU.
  • Improved focus and skill acquiring clients.
  • Offering and delivering a Client Value Proposition that no other Financial Advisor can offer.
  • Generating more revenue from planning / advice fees, AUM, other advice implemented.
  • Improved Quality of Life – Working fewer hours, serving the right type of clients and making more money so you can spend more time doing the things you truly want to do.

To learn more or to enroll in the THRIVE Webinar Series with Bill Bachrach CLICK HERE.

The Relationship Bridges by Bill Bachrach

bridgeThere are 2 relationship bridges to cross with most of your clients that you may not even realize exist. On this side of the first bridge you have clients who like and trust you enough to do some of their business with you. This may be quite a bit of business generating good money to serve these clients. On the other side of the bridge, however, is a relationship with those same clients where they trust you so much that they give you all of their business. In other words, they consolidate all of their assets with you and take action on all of your advice about everything they need to do to achieve their financial goals. That could be increasing their insurance coverage, buying an annuity, doing their estate planning, or any number of things that are good for them to do.

What would be the increased revenue impact from crossing the bridge with your clients to the place where they do all of their business with you?

Don’t believe the lie that financially successful people will always have more than one advisor. That’s just not true. What is true is that most financially successfully people have not yet crossed that relationship bridge to be in the place where they trust one of their advisors enough to do all of their business with them. You just want to make sure that you’re the advisor who helps them across that bridge.

After you cross the first bridge there is still another relationship bridge to cross. On the other side of the next bridge is the place where they trust you enough to do all of their financial services business with you AND they introduce you to their friends, family, and colleagues. It makes sense, right? That level of trust has to be even higher for a person to risk their relationships by referring you.

What would the financial impact be for you to cross those 2 bridges with your clients? What other ways would you benefit from clients who trust you enough to do all of their business with you and refer you to their friends, family, and colleagues? And how would it be better for the clients to simplify their financial lives by consolidating all of their financial affairs with the one advisor they trust the most?

The payoff for you is easily measured:
·      More revenue from planning and advice fees.
·      More revenue from AUM.
·      More revenue from other advice implemented.
·      More referrals, which means much less time and money invested in marketing.

To learn more about how you can bring your clients and prospects across these 2 relationship bridges CLICK HERE or call 858-558-3200 to schedule an appointment.

Don’t waste any time scouring our website for more information about what we do and how we do it. Just pick up the phone and have a conversation with a human being about how you can better serve your clients and grow your business.

Make it a great day.

5 Ways Financial Advisors Leave Money on the Table, Under-Serve Their Clients, and What to do About It

The experts on achieving goals say the first, and a very important step, to achieving a goal is deciding to. My hope is that this article points out some opportunities for you to make more money and serve your clients at a higher level and that you decide to do something about it.

The 5 ways Financial Advisers leave money on the table are:

1.   Not charging a fee, or charging too small of a fee, for up-front planning and advice work.

2.   Not consolidating your client’s assets.

3.   Unimplemented advice.

4.   Referrals.

5.   Wasting time.

1. Not charging a fee, or charging too small of a fee, for up-front planning and advice work. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard a Financial Adviser say, “I do the planning for free in the hopes of getting some of their assets” I’d have a lot of nickels. This is an amateurish approach. Instead, charge a fee for quality planning work that stands on its own merits, whether the client implements with you or not. And if they do choose to act on your advice with you then you deserve to be paid for that as well. How is this better for the client? Because when a person pays for advice they tend to be more inclined to act on it. And it’s acting on advice that produces results. No action. No results.

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Offer a Value Proposition to Your Clients That No Other Financial Advisor Can Offer

As a financial advisor, you have the opportunity and control to have the income you want, time freedom, and the ability to help people. It truly is a great business!

Yet, most financial advisors are working too many hours, serving too many of the wrong clients and making too little money. Why? Well there are several answers to that question but what it boils down to is do you offer a value proposition to your clients that no other Financial Advisor in your area can match and do you deliver on that value proposition?

Here at BAI we embrace the philosophy ‘Overpromise and Overdeliver.’

Partner with BAI and you will learn to present with confidence a powerful and impactful value proposition that will propel you to the top 1 percent of all financial advisors; develop a client acquisition method so you can work by referral-only; build a team of A-players that you lead effectively; manage your time, priorities and calendar, allowing you to save time, which will move you more quickly toward your goals and fill your time with high-payoff activities.

To learn more, visit our website www.billbachrach.com or call (858) 558-3200

Not Bad Enough to Fire. Not Good Enough to Refer

Last year I had lunch with a very successful couple. She had recently sold her business and for the better part of the past year has been interviewing Financial Advisors. She described the experience as “dismal.” To be specific, none of them impressed her with their deliverables, if they were able to show her actual deliverables at all. She felt more like money they were trying to capture rather than a human being they were trying to help.

Another striking element of our conversation was her experience seeking referrals to financial advisors from her most successful friends. She contacted 10 of her mentors who had helped her build her business over the years. They were worth millions on the low end and upwards of $100 Million on the high end. Virtually all of them told her they were not happy enough with their advisor to make a referral and asked her to contact them when she found the person she hired. Whoa! Not a single person among the most financially successful people she knew was willing to introduce her to their financial advisor. Sobering to say the least.

What’s the moral of the story and action-able lessons for you? There are several:

1. Where do you think you stand, really, in the mind of your clients? Is it possible that some of them have been asked about you and chose to not make the introduction? Are they telling you the truth when they fill out those client satisfaction surveys?

2. Consider refer-ability as a metric of trust. The more your clients trust you the more likely they are to refer you to their friends, family, and colleagues. If you are not being referred there could be a trust gap. What will you do about that?

3.  Consider refer-ability as a metric of value received by the client. Even if they trust that you are an honest person, this does not mean they are impressed by the value they are experiencing. If you are not being referred there could be a value delivery gap. What will you do about that?

4.  Don’t presume that when prospective clients tell you they are happy with their advisor they are really happy with their advisor. What’s more likely is that they feel too busy to do something about finding the advisor they would really like to have or they don’t really believe that there is something better so they settle for what they think is normal. Many financially successful people do business with their current advisor more because of inertia than true satisfaction or happiness. How will use this knowledge to attract and convert more financially successful people to become your future Ideal Clients?

5. Bill Gates once said, “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”  Have you become at all complacent about the 1% you collect on your clients’ assets?

If you are a Financial Advisor interested in growing your business and building your Ideal Life, Bachrach & Associates, Inc. offers a free 60-minute consultation to help you build an effective business plan so you can get back to the fundamentals and make 2014 your best year ever! To schedule this, visit www.billbachrach.com or call (858)558-3200.

If you are interested in hiring Bill Bachrach to speak at your next conference, please visit www.billbachrach.com/speaker.

The Metrics of Trust

Wouldn’t it be great if your clients told you exactly how much they trust you? What would you do with that information? How would it help you help your clients? Would they be more likely to follow your advice? How would that impact their success and yours?

I believe your clients are telling you how much they trust you with the most effective and predictable communication method that exists: behavior. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous quote applies here, “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” What your clients do, or do not do, is speaking loudly about trust. Are you listening?

I call these the “metrics” of trust and they are:
1. How receptive to comprehensive financial services and advice are each of your clients?
2. Have they consolidated all of their business with you?
3. Do they act on your advice with relatively little “selling” or the need to use “persuasion” or “closing” techniques?
4. Are they more influenced by your advice than the negative emotions related to market, economic, political or world events?
5. Do they pay your fee without quibbling or haggling?
6. To what degree do they either offer unsolicited referrals or respond positively when you ask them to introduce you to their friends, family and colleagues?

If your clients have an imaginary trust dial embedded in their subconscious, and they do, where does the needle on that trust dial have to be so your clients trust you completely? And if you are dealing with spouses or partners, keep in mind that there are two separate trust dials at work.

Would you like to have clients who are fully comprehensive, consolidate all of their business with you, act on your advice, are more influenced by your advice than negative world events, happily pay your fee and consistently introduce you to their friends, family and colleagues? The key is trust.

Most of what’s involved in building trust is within your control. It’s also helpful to keep in mind that some people can’t trust. Establishing trust with someone who can’t trust is like trying to teach someone with a morbid fear of sharks to surf. Even if it’s possible, it’s not worth the time.

This also has little to do with how trustworthy you are. For the sake of this article, I am going to assume that you are trustworthy from both the competence and character sides of trust. I’m sure you find it frustrating to be trustworthy and have some people not trust you. Trust is for them to decide about you, not something you can declare.

The truth about how much each of your clients trusts you is a simple, honest assessment by you and your team of all six metrics of trust for each of your clients. How does that work?

Let’s take the first metric. What are your clients telling you if they look to you for advice in all areas of financial services? What does it say about how much they trust you if they only do business with you in one area of financial services, say investments or insurance?

It could be as simple as you are not clearly communicating everything you can do for them. Or is it that they trust you enough to do some business with you, but not enough to work with you across all areas of financial services? Your clients’ willingness to be engaged in a holistic relationship vs. a la carte transactions is a metric of how much they trust you. What is their behavior in this area telling you about how much they trust you? On a scale of 1-10, what’s the score?

Having multiple advisors is not diversification. Metric No. 2 means that when your clients have their money spread among several advisors and institutions they are sending the message that they don’t trust any of you enough. You know your clients trust you completely when they have consolidated all of their investments with you.

Consolidated doesn’t necessarily mean that all of their money has been transferred into an account at your firm. What about the money they have in places where it can’t be transferred into those accounts? Does that money still fall under your advice and are they willing to pay you for that? What is their behavior in this area telling you about how much they trust you? On a scale of 1-10, what’s the score?

I’ve seen research about how wealthy people having their investments spread among several advisors. Institutions used to justify that this is just how wealthy people “are,” it’s not changeable, and you should be happy with a good-size account even if it’s only a part of what they have. This is ridiculous. The much better lesson, and the good news for you, is that they have not yet met someone they trust enough to consolidate all of their money with one advisor. Why couldn’t that person be you? Wealthy people value simplification. Is it simpler to have multiple advisors and institutions even when that doesn’t add any value? Will you become the person they trust enough to consolidate all of their assets with? Or will that be someone else?

The third metric is how readily they act on your advice. Have you ever given someone advice and without any hesitation they said, “OK.” That’s trust. Even the most analytical people are capable of trusting at this level. The more you are trusted, the more quickly your clients act on your advice with less information, education or discussion. If you feel like you’re “closing,” the trust level is low. What would have to happen for you to become the advisor who exudes that level of trust? What is their behavior in this area telling you about how much they trust you? On a scale of 1-10, what’s the score?

The fourth metric is the degree to which your clients are more influenced by you than they are by all the negative events in the world that are very effectively exaggerated, embellished and spun by smart and articulate people who deliver the “news.” When the crap hit the fan a few years ago, did your clients stay the course of their plan or did they make you sell low, against your advice? What has to happen to move the needle on the trust dial so your clients are more influenced by you than their emotional reaction to events out of their control? What is their behavior in this area telling you about how much they trust you?
On a scale of 1-10, what’s the score?

The fifth metric is about your compensation. First of all, is ALL of your compensation totally transparent and fully disclosed? Are ALL of the costs of doing business with you totally transparent and fully disclosed, not just the money that you get paid? And are they happy to pay whatever that is?

If there is debate about your fee, it could mean more than just a cheap client. There could be a trust issue at work. When that needle on the trust dial moves farther to the right, your clients will be happy to pay the fee, provided, of course, there is a good value. What is their behavior in this area telling you about how much they trust you? On a scale of 1-10, what’s the score?

And that brings us to metric No. 6: referrals. I think it’s reasonable to believe that your clients have to trust you more to refer you to their friends, family and colleagues than the level of trust required for them to do business with you. A referral and introduction puts their most important relationships at risk. If you drop the ball, it reflects badly on them. So, do they refer you? How involved are they willing to be to make a warm introduction?

Obviously, there’s a significant trust difference between, “Call so-and-so, but don’t use my name” versus “Give Bob a call later this week after I have the chance to speak with him and tell him how much I trust you and what a great job you have done for me.” And don’t believe it for a moment if you ever hear, “We just don’t refer.” That’s not-very-encrypted code for, “I don’t trust you enough to risk my relationships with my friends, family and colleagues to make those introductions.” Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to be trusted that much. What is their behavior in this area telling you about how much they trust you? On a scale of 1-10, what’s the score?

Now what? How do you use this information to become a better advisor for your clients and a more successful advisor for yourself and your family? The first step is an assessment to discover the truth about the level of trust that exists with your clients based on their behavior against these six metrics.

To make it easier for you, we created the Metrics of Trust Spreadsheet. Follow this link to download it for free: www.billbachrach.com/metricsoftrust.
Essentially, the way it works is that you enter the name for each of your clients and assess where they stand in each of these six areas. Using a simple 1-10 scoring system, your trust score with that client could be a maximum of 60. It will be very apparent where you want to improve your value delivery or strengthen the relationship to move the needle on the trust dial to where both you and the client would prefer it to be.

Make it your goal to become the kind of advisor and communicator who can move the needle on the trust dial to create a clientele who are fully comprehensive, consolidate all of their business with you, act on your advice, are more influenced by you than negative external events, happily pay your fee and consistently introduce you to their friends, family and colleagues.

Bill Bachrach, CSP, CPAE is considered the financial services industry’s leading authority on building high-trust client relationships. He is a popular keynote speaker and successful financial professionals from around the world subscribe to the Values-Based Financial Planning turnkey business model to establish themselves as top 1% advisors in terms of value for their clients, financial success, and quality of life.


An Intelligent Client Acquisition Methodology

Hint: It’s not about pushing products and sales

Financial advisors sometimes joke about their clients’ unrealistic expectations. They smirk about Mr. Smith, who’s looking for a no-risk, high return, government-guaranteed investment vehicle. They snicker about Mrs. Jones, who wants a fund that performs well in any market. Meanwhile, those same advisors are on the quest for the perfect client acquisition methodology. They want a system that’s easy to implement, fairly inexpensive, requires very little risk and makes the phone ring off the hook with no effort on their part. I’m sure we’d all like to find something like that, but it simply doesn’t exist.

In this business, there is no nirvana. No matter what methodology you choose, you have to put in the time, energy and money to make it work. M. Scott Peck began his book, “The Road Less Traveled,” with the famous line, “Life is difficult.” Once you understand and accept that, Peck says, then the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. The same is true with finding a client acquisition methodology. Instead of trying one program after another in search of some method nirvana, successful advisors understand that discomfort is inevitable and they work hard to push past it. That’s the first secret to success-being willing to do the uncomfortable things.

Going into the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, the U.S. gymnastics team was not expected to do very well. Against all odds, they won the gold medal. The team’s captain, Peter Vidmar, scored a perfect ten on the pommel horse and took first place in that event. People often ask Peter what it takes to become an Olympic champion. He tells them, “It’s pretty simple, really. You only have to work out two times-when you feel like it and when you don’t.”

In your search for the perfect methodology, stop for a moment and ask yourself this question: Are you willing to do the work it requires, when you feel like it and when you don’t? If the answer is yes, you’re halfway there. Now you just need to find an intelligent method and stick to it.
Here are four ways to recognize an intelligent methodology.

An intelligent methodology is client-centered. For decades, financial advisors have been showing up in the marketplace like salespeople-with aggressive marketing, direct mail and those dreaded suppertime cold calls. No client has ever said, “You know what I want in a financial advisor? I want a really good salesperson. Someone who can handle my objections and make features and benefits presentations. And when I’m really resisting buying, I want a really good closer.” If you looked at prospective methodologies through your clients’ eyes, you’d never choose a method that focuses on making you a great salesperson. That’s not what your clients want. An intelligent methodology is client-centered, not product, sales, or “you” centered. A client-centered methodology attracts clients instead of pushing them away.

An intelligent methodology produces an intelligent and profitable business.  When a sales-centered methodology works, it usually results in too many clients who don’t generate the revenue, the kind of business or the life you really want. If that sounds like your business, you’re probably in one of two stages. Either you’re just starting out, or you’ve spent a lifetime building a business that’s not making you happy.

Either way, there’s good news: It’s not too late to get out of the wrong system and into the right one. With a dedicated commitment to systematically implementing an intelligent methodology, you can rebuild in two to four years.

An intelligent method executed over time leads to exactly the kind of business you’d like to have-a business with the right number of the right kind of clients paying you the right amount of money. That’s because a client-centered methodology attracts the type of people you want to do business with.

An intelligent methodology leads to an incredible life. Twelve or 13 years ago I was giving a presentation at a major wirehouse in Los Angeles. During one of the breaks, a young man in his early twenties came up to me and told me how excited he was. He was a hardworking, ambitious guy with fire in his eyes and enthusiasm in his voice. He was modeling his business after a $2 million producer in his office, and he was clearly focused on the money. I suggested, “Before you model your business after somebody else, make sure you look at the whole picture. Don’t just look at the business, look at the person’s life. How many times has this guy been married? What kind of relationship does he have with his kids? What kind of physical shape is he in? Is he healthy? Does he have time to work out and is he inclined to work out? How many hours a week does he work? Do you really want the whole picture?”

Before you choose a methodology to implement, find out about the people who use that method. Don’t just zero in on the money they’re making or the number of clients they have; focus on the whole life.

Our favorite success story is Mark Little, not only because of the financial wealth he’s earned by implementing our methods, but because of the incredibly wealthy lifestyle he’s created. Mark’s business generates a predictable annual cash flow of $1.6 million, with predictable annual expenses of less than $500,000. I know there are advisors who make more money, but I’d put Mark’s whole picture up against anyone else in the industry. He works three days a week, he’s gotten himself in great physical condition and he has amazing client loyalty. I don’t care who you are, how smart you are or how articulate you are, you couldn’t steal one of his clients in a million years.

An intelligent methodology includes implementation support. Early in my speaking career, if people liked what they heard at my seminars, they could go to the back of the room and buy my mastery system. The package included (and still does) all the necessary books, audios/CDs and videos/DVDs along with four quarterly teleconferences-other than that, they were on their own. After a while I included additional support: I’d put my 800 number up on the screen and say, “If you have any questions you can call me.” Hardly anyone ever did. They’d buy the system, take it home and put it on a shelf. Jim Rohn calls this the law of diminishing intent. They’d have great intentions when they bought the system, but they didn’t do anything with it. That really bothered me, so I began focusing on helping people implement the system.

Most human beings under most circumstances most of the time need help implementing. They’re a lot like kids learning to ride a bike without training wheels. When they’re first learning, it’s not unusual to lose their balance and tip over. When that happens, we pick them up, dust them off, get them back on the bike and give them a push. If we stand there for a little while and watch them, they’ll either fall off again or veer off course. It’s our job to catch them and get them going in the right direction. Ultimately we get so good at this that we anticipate them falling off the bike, and as they start to lean over, before they hit the ground, we reach up, push them back in the seat and keep them moving in the right direction.

Before you adopt a methodology, ask this question: When you veer off course or fall off the bike, what’s built into the system to make sure you get back up and move in the right direction at a rate of speed that will get you where you want to go? If the system doesn’t include human interaction to help you implement, it won’t matter how good the content is. An intelligent methodology includes an ongoing accountability structure and a mechanism for getting things done.

Bill Bachrach is the author of several books, including the best-selling Values-Based Financial Planning. He has delivered approximately 2,000 keynote speeches and presentations teaching financial professionals to build high-trust client relationships. For 22 years he and his team have trained successful advisors and planners to dramatically improve their client loyalty, build their business by referral only, and live a very high quality of life.


Working Well

In order to be the highly successful financial advisor that you are capable of being, you must have good work habits. This is crucial for several reasons, foremost being a trust issue. How can one person who doesn’t have their “stuff” together expect people to pay him/her to get their stuff together?

In other words, if you are sloppy and disorganized and if you spend too much of your time on low-payoff activities that are not moving you toward your goals, then why should clients trust you to help them get their finances organized and make the smart financial choices necessary to achieve their goals?

Being trustworthy is more than just being an honest person who isn’t going to steal a client’s money or give bad advice. Let’s explore some of the work habits of successful advisors as well as some of the work habits of not-so-successful advisors; you can use these as examples of what to emulate and what to avoid.

We will break this down into four key elements:
• Client service work habits.
• Client acquisition work habits.
• Leadership work habits.
• Time management work habits.

First of all, what is “success”? In my opinion, success is three things:
1. The value delivered for the client.
2. The financial success of the advisor.
3. The quality of life of the advisor.

Notice that numbers 2 and 3 also benefit the client; they are not just about you. If you were a financially successful client, would you want to have a financially unsuccessful financial advisor, or would you want to have a stressed out financial advisor who is living a crappy quality of life?

Client Service Work Habits

1. Successful advisors spend their time with clients who are profitable.

Unsuccessful advisors work with too many people who are not profitable and probably don’t even know how much revenue a client must generate in order to be profitable in the first place. They say, “I know we’re losing money on each of these clients. We’ll make it up with volume.”

2. Successful advisors are either truly comprehensive or, at the very least, do much more than most financial advisors. It’s interesting how many financial advisors do exactly the same thing as pretty much the rest of the financial advisor world but claim to be “different.” The most successful financial advisors have a value proposition that is driven by their knowledge of what is best for the client, rather than by what the client is willing to buy.

Unsuccessful advisors will pretty much sell anything to anybody anytime. Whatever the client is willing to buy is what they are going to sell. They are not really “advisors” at all. They are salespeople.

3. Successful advisors serve a finite number of clients who pay them a predictable amount of recurring revenue. They are not only clear about how much money each client must generate, they also know how much time to budget per client in order to serve the client and be profitable.

Unsuccessful advisors have little clues how much time to budget to serve a client. They tend to rationalize this with silly statements like, “Every client is different, and so it’s impossible to know how much time it’s going to take to serve them.”

4. Successful advisors are orchestrating a systematic process for delivering the promised value for each client.

Unsuccessful advisors struggle to do the best they can with what they’ve got on an ad hoc basis.

5. Successful advisors are excellent at helping clients manage their emotions about external events. Regardless of what’s happening in the markets, the economy, politics or world events, the successful advisor is able to keep her clients focused on what they can control and stick to the plan. There is no time or energy wasted writing market or economic updates or reacting to the ever-present uncontrollable events.
Unsuccessful advisors are whipped around by the clients’ emotional responses to the negative news about the market or the economy or politics or world events. They churn out long written explanations about the fiscal cliff or the debt ceiling, or what happens depending on this or that political event/election, or what happens if one European nation or another defaults on its debt. And many of their discussions with their clients center on these events over which there is no control. The downside, of course, is that these activities are an enormous waste of time. This is time that could have been invested in acquiring another ideal client or enjoying life or making a difference.

Client Acquisition Work Habits

1. Successful advisors build their business by referrals and introductions.

Unsuccessful advisors typically deploy multiple time-consuming and expensive marketing tactics, usually mastering none of them and ultimately investing large sums of money that produce very small results. Or they never do much of anything to acquire clients because they can never afford to.

2. Successful advisors are very good on the phone and use some of their client acquisition time to connect with people they have been referred to by calling them. Because they have excellent people skills and are eager to engage people face-to-face, while some people are more “outgoing” than others, successful advisors have consciously developed their people skills.

Unsuccessful advisors seem to be afraid of people and tend to do just about anything other than talk to another human being. They are often “wrapped around the axle” trying to get people to call them by building the perfect website or deploying the fantasy social media plan.

3. Successful advisors ask really good questions, are excellent listeners, truly empathize with people, and when it’s their turn to talk, are very effective at articulating how their process will help the prospective client achieve meaningful results in their life.

Unsuccessful advisors tend to talk about the features of their products, the markets, investment performance, why their company is great, etc.

Being successful is a matter of integrity and good client service. You don’t have to be a rich financial advisor whose quality of life is perfect in order to acquire and serve financially successful clients. However, if you’re not on the path of financial success and living a great life, you’re a fraud. People who give other people advice about their money and goals should also be financially successful people who achieve their goals.

Leadership Work Habits

1. Successful advisors recognize that everything they do is about leadership, especially their client service work. They lead their clients by understanding exactly where the client wants to be (also, when and why), and then they lead the client with great advice and accountability to get there.
Unsuccessful advisors tend to be subservient to their client and have an upside-down accountability relationship where the client is holding them accountable instead of the other way around.

2. Successful advisors lead and give advice. They are not educators, therapists or salespeople. They tell the client what he needs to hear, not necessarily what he wants to hear, even if it means risking the relationship.

Unsuccessful advisors tend to do just about anything but lead and advise. Instead, they justify wasting the client’s time by educating him, or they take the sales approach and present options so “the client can make his own decision.” This is not leadership.

3. Successful advisors lead a team of other subject matter experts to do the best possible job for the clients. They are the point people who make sure the accountants, the money managers, the financial planners, the lawyers, the insurance agents, the bankers, etc. are all doing the job they are supposed to do to contribute to the clients’ financial success. When all these professionals are in the same room together, it’s obvious that the advisor is in charge.

If the unsuccessful advisor is even in the same room with the accountants, the lawyers, the money managers, the financial planners, the insurance agents, the bankers, etc., he is just another player on the team and not the “head coach.” If your client ever checks your advice with someone else, then you know you’re not the leader.

Time Management Work Habits

1. The successful advisor spends most of his or her time engaged in productive client service, client acquisition, and leadership activities. Until your ideal client community is complete, you can expect to invest at least eight hours per week in direct client acquisition work.

An unsuccessful advisor tends to “study” much more than is necessary. They study the markets, economics, politics and world events as if they can somehow predict what’s going to happen and capitalize on it. They tend to spend less than two hours per week in anything that could remotely be considered serious client acquisition work.

2. Successful advisors are good delegators, especially when it comes to the administrative elements of running their businesses.

Unsuccessful advisors seem to never have enough time to go get more ideal clients because they are stuck in the minutiae of running their businesses. As the saying goes, if you don’t have an assistant, you are one.

3. Successful advisors delegate and outsource to highly-qualified technical subject matter experts rather than trying to maintain an expertise in everything, including financial planning, investments, insurance, taxes, law, etc. They have a good fundamental understanding and they make sure things get done rather than feeling like they have to do things all by themselves.

Unsuccessful advisors tend to act as if they have to know everything themselves. They are trapped by the illusion that one person can be an expert in all the areas of finance necessary to help their clients make smart choices about their money.

It’s impossible to cover every element that distinguishes the successful advisor from the unsuccessful advisor. However, if you shift your behavior and habits to fall on the successful side of the habits ledger outlined in this article, you will tap more of your true potential. Your clients win and you win.

©2013 by Bill Bachrach, Bachrach & Associates, Inc.  All rights reserved. Bill Bachrach is the author of several books, including the best-selling Values-Based Financial Planning. He has delivered approximately 2,000 keynote speeches and presentations teaching financial professionals to build high-trust client relationships. For 25 years he and his team have trained successful advisors and planners to dramatically improve their client loyalty, build their business by referral only, and live a very high quality of life.