V. Set your goals and have a plan to reach them
Research shows that most successful people set goals and know where they are headed. They develop plans and activities that help them to achieve these goals. Besides, they set timelines, budget and monitor their progress. On the other hand, the not-so-successful tend to leave it to fate – ‘Apni kismet mein joh likha, woh mil jayega’ (I will get whatever is written in my fate).
So how do you go about setting goals and making plans?
Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goals e.g. ‘I will get Rs. 1 crore through 50 new clients this year.’
Develop a simple plan that should set out the road map for reaching these goals. It should address basic issues such as:
- What do I need to reach this goal?
- How will I do it? What activities will I undertake?
- When will I do it?
- How much will it cost me?
- What is the timeline?
- What results do I expect?
As they say, once you have the correct goals, and if you pursue them diligently, everything will fall in line. Best wishes.
IV. Your action today will determine your success tomorrow
Successful advisors take action.
Often when market conditions turn adverse, some advisors and investors get immobilised. They prefer to just wait and hope – for the next bull run, for positive news, developments etc.
On the other hand, instead of being immobilised by ambiguous market signals, successful advisors act.
They go about advising clients to invest now and not to defer investments because they know that in the long run, it is time and not timing that matters. They know that waiting for the ripe conditions to emerge in the market is a futile exercise. Just reflect on this – if investing when the Sensex was at 22,000 made sense, why can’t investing at 15,000 make sense?
Similarly, successful advisors intuitively know that this is the time to acquire new clients because the short-sighted have left the distribution business, leaving behind ‘orphan’ clients. They know that this is the time to do hand holding because this is the time when your client needs you the most. Being with your clients in a difficult time shows you care. In turn you earn the life-long trust of your clients and thus build your most important asset – your reputation as a caring and knowledgeable advisor.
III. Be a professional
If you as an IFA want to command the respect that other professionals such as doctors, architects etc. get, you need to set and maintain high standards of expertise and ethics.
What is it that you should do that distinguishes you as a professional?
Professionals learn constantly; amateurs make excuses to avoid learning. Knowledge is power. Professionals know this and invest their time accordingly. Amateurs feel they know everything or they are too busy or too old to learn anything.
Professionals take charge by thinking, planning and doing things. Amateurs leave themselves to the mercy of others, God, fate etc. But as the cliché goes: God helps those who help themselves.
II. IFAs need to answer ‘Hum aapke hain kaun’
Why should a client do business with you and not the other hundreds of IFAs? Ask yourself what makes you different from others.
IFAs need to differentiate themselves from others. However, our research shows that when we ask IFAs to state the key reason why any investor should do business with them, most give the same answer – service!
There are two problems with this response. Firstly, service is too ‘vague’. When you say service, the prospect has no clarity on what you can do for him or her. Secondly, if 90 out of 100 IFAs are giving the same ‘service’ theme, it becomes meaningless.
So, define yourself in terms that the prospect can relate to and focus on the problems you can solve. A statement like, “I help clients reach their financial goals after doing an in-depth understanding of their needs,” gives your prospect a more powerful reason to do business with you than ‘service’.
I. Are you giving up too early?
A research study has shown that many IFAs gave up after 3 calls to a client, while most clients responded after the 4th call!
You can straight away improve your revenues and profitability if you persist in your follow up with new clients.
The advisory business is severely impacted by the ups and downs of the stock markets. In the bull phase, everyone wants a piece of the action. There is a flood of people who get in to the advisory business lured by the prospects of easy money. In the downturn which inevitably follows each bull run, these ‘fair weather’ friends cannot stand the heat and exit the business as quickly as they had come. On the other hand, those advisors who stick around and stay connected with their clients are the true winners.