Posts Tagged ‘Bad Idea’
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
I am opposed to asking for referrals. For all kinds of reasons.
I do not believe in asking primarily because it attempts to hijack the natural way referrals happen. But also because we are an event driven business. And when we ask for referrals, we won’t meet the prospects when they need us.
Clients typically seek out and advisor because something happened or something changed. Very few people wake up in the morning thinking “I think I will find a new financial advisor today.” It happens, and sometimes a change of attitude can be the trigger. But most often it is because a situation arises that requires a client find advice.
I was reminded of this the other day as I was working with the client on his value proposition. Like so many advisors, he told me he works with clients who are in “transition.” We may be an event driven business partly because we have designed it that way. Money in motion, changing life circumstances, retirement distributions, sudden money. So many of the things we tell people we specialize in involve an event.
Regardless of where it comes from, it is clear that good referrals are defined partly by being introduced at the right time for the prospect. And the probability that when you ask your client for a referral will turn out to be just the right time for the prospect is miniscule. Odds are that if you ask for referrals you will be calling those prospects at time when they are just not receptive to your message. I think of it this way: from the prospect’s perspective you are like a great plumber that shows up unannounced and unexpected on someone’s doorstep. If a plumber came to visit you out of the blue, would you hire him? Right then?
I recently hired a plumbing company to come pump out my septic tank. Not something I do very often. In fact, I have been in this house for almost 20 years and have not had it pumped once. (I know, bad idea. Like many people, I procrastinate on the preventative maintenance stuff.) But, I had a remodeling project going on and needed an inspection. The inspection required that the tank be pumped. I mentioned it to people. I asked around. A friend suggested a company, and they turned out to be great.
And that’s how referrals happen. If that company had called me a year ago and told me they were experts at pumping septic tanks, I would have replied “not now, thanks.” (Even though I should have thought about it. But I was, I don’t know, packing for vacation or cutting the lawn or something.) But, now I needed one. And because my friend knew this company was good at cleaning septic systems he mentioned them to me when I described my predicament.
What we must focus on is making sure our clients understand what particular solutions we can deliver or what experiences we can provide. If we can make that easy to recall, they will remember us when they hear someone describe a need for what we do. In the end, we don’t really want our clients to share with us the names of their friends. We want our clients to share our names with their friends at the right time.
Get help designing your own referral marketing strategy with our Referral Marketing Plan Template. Find out about it here.
Tags: Asking For Referrals, Bad Idea, Change Of Attitude, Doorstep, Driven Business, Life Circumstances, Money In Motion, Odds, Out Of The Blue, Perspective, Plumber, Plumbing Company, Probability, Prospects, Referral, Retirement Distributions, Right Time, Septic Tank, Sudden Money, Value Proposition
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Wednesday, August 10th, 2011
Motivated and competent staff is key to the success of any business, large or small.
Yet when I talk to advisors about the things that frustrate them and are holding them back, attracting and retaining the right staff is often at the top of the list.
That’s why I was interested in a recent guest article for Horsesmouth, the leading practice management site for financial advisors. Co-authored by Helen Modly and Tommie Monez, two members of the management team of a successful financial advisory firm in Arlington, Virginia it outlines five practical tips to get the right staff on board.
And to see more articles like this one and to sign up for a free trial subscription, go to www.horsesmouth.com. (Note as well that some Horsesmouth articles can be found on the website for Dynamic Funds.)
By Helen Modly and Tommie Monez
Hiring team members is one of the most important and also the most difficult parts of managing and building a practice. Build your hiring process around these five steps, and you won’t have to kiss so many frogs along the way.
One of the great things about working in a small firm is being able to express and implement new ideas and the flexibility to change direction on a whim. We call it “management by shiny object.”
However, when it comes to hiring, this method has been more of a curse than an advantage. Twice we have found individuals that so impressed us we considered hiring them on the spot. Not that they fit into our long-range plans, but just so we could have these great folks on our team. Twice we have discovered that hiring without a plan or a real job description is a really bad idea.
Here are the five lessons we’ve learned as we’ve developed from impulsively hiring shiny objects to methodically recruiting and building a great team.
Lesson #1: Don’t stray
Know what position you are trying to fill and stick to it.
Before adding advisors or other team members, take the time for an in-depth look at the way your firm works. Solicit input from all employees for suggestions on how to make the work flow more efficient, more accurate, and more suited to the individuals assigned to performing each job.
Sometimes rearranging the work flow, adding appropriate technology, or changing roles within the firm will eliminate the need for new people. If you cannot create more internal efficiency, take the time to evaluate what roles you need filled short, mid-, and long-term. Develop a detailed job description for the most sensible position to fill next-and stick to it.
Lesson #2: Get formal
Create a formal search and selection process.
Identify in advance how you will use it to evaluate applicants. Determine specific criteria, answering these questions:
- Will a credit report or background check be required?
- How will you check references?
- Will you use any assessment tools, and who will administer these assessments to the candidates?
- What level of proficiency is required?
You will also need to determine in advance exactly what you are prepared to offer a new hire in terms of salary and benefits, schedule flexibility, time off, dress expectations, and so on.
Always begin the selection process with a personal phone call to the applicant. For most positions, good telephone skills are essential. The applicant should have a voice that is easily heard and understandable; he or she should have no distracting mannerisms and make no grammatical errors. A well-written résumé and impressive prior experience don’t always translate into a good verbal communicator, but a quick phone call will tell you a whole lot about this critical skill set.
Tags: Arlington Virginia, Bad Idea, Competent Staff, Dynamic Funds, Financial Advisors, Financial Advisory Firm, Five Steps, Free Trial Subscription, Frogs, Guest Article, Hiring Process, Hiring Team, Job Description, Lesson 1, Management Team, Practice Management, Shiny Object, Shiny Objects, Team Members, Whim
Posted in Dan Richards | Comments Off