Outside voices and views for advisers

Financial adviser bracketology

Do you want to be Wichita State or Duke?

Mar 17, 2014 @ 10:56 am

By Matthew Halloran

It's amazing. Every year at this time there is a college basketball team that comes out of nowhere to capture the hearts of a nation as it marches toward the Final Four.

Twenty-five years ago it was Seton Hall, eight years ago it was George Mason, and three years ago it was Virginia Commonwealth.

Now, its Wichita State. The Shockers have shocked the nation by completing an undefeated regular season for the first time since UNLV in the early 1990s.

But lets be honest, do you think we're going to be hearing about Wichita State next year? Probably not. Unless you are a crazy sports fan, did you remember those Cinderella teams we talked about above?

That said, there are teams that year in and year out always perform well. Those are the teams that you cannot help but fill in as you complete your bracket today.

The powerhouses. Duke. Michigan State. Kansas.

These teams have successful coaches (Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo and Bill Self, respectively) that make these programs consistently good, because they're consistently doing the same things.

The same proven training, the same proven plays with the same proven talent pool. The best players in the country want to play for these coaches.

Do you have clients lining up to work with you like these schools have kids fighting over them? If not, why not?

There are advisers that have people lining up to work with them. It is prestigious to work with certain advisers. But why? What are they doing different from you?

Consistent practicing, consistent events, consistent service, always wanting to be the best. You say you want to be the best, but do you do what the best advisers do?

Many times, financial services professionals act like a flash-in-the pan team. We just hit a home run with an event and we don't repeat it. We don't give it time to settle in. We chase another rabbit or squirrel that gets our attention. We don't have the discipline to stick with ideas and get great results over time. That is the key: Consistent events, consistent service, and consistent performance.

I understand this as a business owner. We look at our balance sheet today and realize we need revenue today. Sometimes we have to look up and take the long view and ask the question, what are we doing now that will give us success in years to come?

That is what Duke, Michigan State, and Kansas do — they have rebuilding years, they plan, they prepare, they practice. Do you?

We do a lot of different things. We don't stay the course. That is really truly successful firms and really truly successful teams do. We try things once. We have one great result. But, one does not a trend make.

Do you even know what you are really good at in this industry? What is your best marketing technique? What is the best way to service your clients in a way that is truly yours? What clients do you work the best with? What is your brand and is it something you believe and that the community could recognize? Are you giving free financial advice to your community like the great coaches do to build your expertise and heighten your profile?

Good consistent coaching, good consistent plays and a good consistent training schedule, wins. You have to ask yourself do you want to surround yourself with the right players, the right farm team, the right recruiting and the right coach at the helm to help you have consistent winning results like Tom Izzo or Mike Krzyzewski, or do you want to be like Wichita State?

Please understand I'm a huge fan of Wichita State and I hope they go all the way and win the whole thing this year but I don't want my clients to be like Wichita State. I want them to be Duke. I want them to be Michigan State. I want them to be Kansas. I want them to be consistently successful.

One of the reasons why those three teams are consistently successful is because of what they do in the off-season. What are you doing when you are not out prospecting? You should hopefully be setting up the plays so when you do go prospect or you're trying to close business that you're a lot more successful.

Matthew Halloran is a certified coach for advisers. He wrote "The Social Media Handbook for Financial Advisors: How to Use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to Build and Grow Your Business."


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