We all get overwhelmed with our workload from time to time. Or maybe the work just doesn’t seem as fulfilling as it once did … it’s lost some of its appeal. Maybe your own clients are driving you crazy at the moment. If you’re in a rut consider the following:
- Take a trip. Attend a conference, get out of your home city, meet some of your peers (like at the FPA’s recent annual convention in Nashville.) Meeting likeminded advisors and catching up on the industry’s best practices will give you momentum, and get your stalled business back on track.
- Take a class. Not pottery or scuba diving, although those can be a fun change of pace, too. But something that will inform your business practices, even if it’s just a tax class at the community college apprising you of the most recent changes to the tax code. You could even consider earning an advanced designation such as the CFP or the CFA to become a Jedi master in your field.
- Take a magazine. Increasing your working knowledge of trends within the financial world will make you a better advisor. Don’t get stuck playing Majong on your computer during your weekends or downtime. Pick up a trade journal and figure out how to do a better job for your clients. Keep a folder with ideas for your business.
- Pick up a book. You’ve probably got quite a few books around your office or at home that started, never finished, but could help you better serve your clients – or become a better business owner and entrepreneur. I’ve always believed it’s not necessary to finish every book you start, but to start many, and find books that speak to us.
- Don’t lunch alone. If you’re having lunch by yourself everyday, you’re missing out on chances to expand your business and meet new people. One advisor recommends taking at least two to three new people to lunch per week to continually build your prospecting pipleline. Don’t forget strategic partners like accountants and estate attorneys. Take a client to lunch, especially a client who is a member of your niche, so you can query them about how you are serving their needs, and how you can reach other members of their niche.
- Host an event. Nothing can restore your enthusiasm like a client event. Show clients you appreciate their business by hosting a fall party, for instance. Pick a theme, any theme, that speaks to you. Maybe you want to bring in a hay bail to the office, bust out your cowboy boots and serve up Western chili. Clients appreciate these get-togethers, especially when they think they’re getting free stuff, like golf balls, or sports memorabilia. You can even tie it into a community charity event—guaranteed to be a hit.
- Seek feedback. Part of being a reflective practitioner is asking others how they see you. Letting your team critique you is one possibility, as are client surveys. To get absolutely honest surveys, make sure you allow surveys to remain anonymous. You can do this best by hiring a client survey professional company. Some of the most revealing questions on professional surveys, I think, are where the survey asks the client to circle the adjectives that describe you. Some positive examples: dependable, reliable, organized, knowledgeable, friendly. Another question that helps so much is “Tell us about a time our team exceeded your expectations.” And another: “Tell us about how we can serve your needs better.”
- Serve others. Offer your advice to someone who could never pay you. Or volunteer in some other capacity—at the United Way Day of Caring, for instance. You’ll meet members of the community, including local radio talent, and local business leaders.
- Redecorate your office. When all else fails, redecorate, I say. Sure, remodeling’s painful and expensive, but even if all you do is slap trendy paint on an accent wall, rearrange your furniture and get a new office chair, you’ll feel better about your workspace. An inspirational piece of art can also have the same effect when you hang it in the right place. Feng shui your office and see if the thrill returns. Remember to position your furniture to best show that you’re on the “same side of the table as your client.” You may love your beautiful oak desk but it can create a psychological barrier between you and your clients. Why not create a cozy interview/discussion area of your office instead?
The above list will get you past any temporary burnouts. Bottom line: keep progressing, or you’ll undoubtedly regress.