With rising interest rates, an uncertain economy, and the highest level of inflation seen in decades, many advisors may be worried about their prospects for enhancing the financial performance of their practice. Two industry veterans recently offered suggestions to help advisors tackle this challenge and make 2023 successful.
Three steps for advisors
According to Troy Korsgaden, principal of Korsgaden International, there are three actions every agent and advisor should take as they map out their plans for 2023.
Filling the seats: “Appointments are the lifeblood of our profession, and every business plan should include a strategy for ensuring that agents and advisors are in front of people every day,” said Korsgaden. “I recommend hiring a person whose sole responsibility is contacting clients and potential clients to schedule appointments. The goal should be 10 agency appointments every day.”
Develop a strategy: Develop a strategy for expanding capabilities within the agency or the firm. Agents and advisors should review and update their organizational structure annually. In our programs, we have people create an organizational-chart based on what they need rather than who they have,” he said. Then they can create plans for “upskilling” current team members, hiring new team members, or developing relationships with “expertise partners” – people who offer products or services they don’t. These partnerships enable agents and advisors to position themselves as the gateway to their clients’ insurance and financial-services needs. “You want to be the first person your client calls when they have any kind of insurance or financial-services need,” he added.
Enhance the client experience: Every business plan must include a strategy for enhancing the client experience, Korsgaden said. “If you don’t get this right, nothing else matters,” he said. One action agents and advisors can take immediately is to hire a concierge, he added. The concierge’s role is to contact clients within 24 hours of every interaction to ensure clients are satisfied with the service they received. The concierge can answer outstanding questions or resolve issues immediately. “It is a simple way to show clients you care and deepens client relationships,” he added.
Focus on planning
Planning plays a crucial role in having a successful year, advised MDRT member Amanda Cassar, director of Wealth Planning Partners. “As advisors, we’re still digesting lessons from the pandemic and struggling with new ways of working – and 2023 will be no different,” she said.
As advisors determine where they want to invest in their business, Cassar said there are some important questions they need to ask:
Will the investment they make be to support a hybrid working model?
Will they invest in better technology and cybersecurity?
Is it time to do some data analysis and get insights from their customers?
With rising interest rates and record-high inflation, will reducing debt be a priority?
Many are struggling to retain and hire good talent. As a result, will this area be a focus?
Defining what the year will be about can also be a great starting point, added Cassar. Many advisors like to have a single “focus word” that they concentrate on for the coming 12 months.
Hopefully, your calendar is still fairly blank, which makes now a great time to map out things you no longer want to miss, added Cassar. “Note the recurring workouts or walks three times per week. Make sure that conferences you want to attend are in, and the summer holidays are planned. It’s time to make the calendar work for you,” she said.
Finally, advisors with significant goals should break them down into stages and work out a plan of action to attain those goals. “Breaking things down into manageable bite-sized pieces can be a game-changer for getting things done,” she said.
Ayo Mseka has more than 30 years of experience reporting on the financial services industry. She formerly served as editor-in-chief of NAIFA’s Advisor Today magazine. Contact her at [email protected].