Outside voices and views for advisers

How to fire your $350-an-hour assistant

If you're spending a significant amount of time doing paperwork and focusing on other non-revenue driving activities, you effectively are your own assistant

Jun 24, 2014 @ 2:08 pm

By Brad Johnson

The world of financial advisory may seem complex. But in reality, success comes down to two simple things: consistently getting in front of new clients and taking care of existing clients. But instead of focusing on these two critical activities, many advisers choose instead to throw good money away on $350 an hour assistants.

Confused? Let me illustrate my point with a story. You are fairly new to the financial advisory business, but you are fortunate because you've had a certain level of success and your production is starting to skyrocket. The marketing is working, you're getting in front of new people and appointments are scheduled on your calendar consistently. The only problem is the paperwork is starting to pile up and you're having a hard time keeping up. Your 40-hour work week is quickly becoming a 50-hour work week, and before long it's getting even closer to a 60-hour work week.

Then one day there's a knock at your door. It's the assistant from down the hall. Her office is shutting down as the longtime financial adviser that occupied it is retiring. The assistant is in desperate need of a job. You sit down and speak with her and you are instantly impressed. She has the most polished personal skills that you've ever come across. At the end of the interview, you are ready to hire her on the spot. There's just one issue. When you ask her how much she needs to be paid, she slides you a piece of paper across the desk. You open it tentatively. She wants to be paid $350 per hour.

Do you hire her?

The answer is you already have.

A financial adviser in an office that drives between $500,000 and $2 million in revenue annually makes an average of about $350 an hour. If you're spending a significant amount of time doing paperwork and focusing on other non-revenue driving activities, you effectively are your own assistant. And you are being paid very, very well!

If you're like me, you can easily think of 5,000 things you need to do in a day. But those 5,000 things can actually prevent you from doing what you should be doing — your vital few functions. The most successful people — regardless of the type of business they are in — know how and where to focus their efforts. When you boil it down, there are only two or three activities that will actually allow you to move the needle forward in your business. The most successful people know this, they focus on those key activities, and they stick to them.

The key to success as a financial adviser is to fire that $350 an hour assistant. Instead, hire one that does the job just fine for $20 an hour. Outsource those activities that suck up your time but do not contribute to your bottom line. Instead, focus on activities that drive revenue: seeing new clients or taking care of existing clients. It's as simple as that.

Brad Johnson is a vice president at Advisors Excel and can be reached at: brad.johnson@advisorsexcel.com


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