Financial Advisors : Avoid these 5 Time Bandits!

  • Watching Financial Infotainment.

    Do you have CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg News or any of the other live broadcasts on continuously in your office? We can’t help but watch what is on–the content seems so important and exciting with continual interruptions of Breaking News and the attention getting music (noise?) that accompanies it. Since the financial services industry is dependent on knowing the latest news, advisors feel compelled to keep watching, which is fine if you have the time for distractions or are relaxing away from work.

    Solution: Reading the News. Reading is still the most efficient way to communicate and receive information. No one speaks as fast as they read. Reading the news allows you to control when and where you access the information and contributes to disciplined time management. So turn off the TV.

  • Playing phone or email tag to set appointments.

    How often does this happen in a day? Either the advisor or support staff spends time calling and emailing back and forth until a mutually agreed upon time is found.

    Solution: Use Appointment Scheduling Software. Here is a link to a list of options. The system emails clients appointment times you are available and then they can respond to the time that is right for both of you. Most appointment scheduling software integrates with the CRM system you currently use.

  • Reinventing the wheel with each client meeting.

    Do you customize every meeting, waiting to the last minute to gather information and decide on the client meeting agenda? If you are like most advisors and meet with each client quarterly, the meetings can get redundant and even boring if the structure is undefined or haphazard.

    Solution: Decide on a set group of topics for each quarterly meeting and create agenda’s for each topic. The topics can range from Estate Planning to Investment Updates. Knowing the format of each meeting will allow you to focus on what is most important: the client.

  • Wading through emails, even those from your own staff.

    How many emails do you receive in a day, 100, 200, more? I know how it is; you go to a conference, drop your business card into a fish bowl in hopes of winning good stuff and then start receiving emails from all of those companies. Or your staff is communicating to you via email because it is faster (see solution to time bandit #1) but the importance of those emails can get lost either through the overuse of the exclamation points of urgency !!! or undefined subject lines. And this is a two-way street. It can be just as confusing and inefficient for your staff.

    Solution: For the first part it is easy, unsubscribe. I know it takes 30 seconds to hit the unsubscribe button and enter your email but if the information is something you are not interested in, get rid of the emails as soon as possible. As to the interoffice emails, the solution is to write more descriptive subject lines. If a response is needed immediately include it in the subject line “Need immediate response.” By being more descriptive the company increases efficiency and priorities become clearer.

  • Overworking client portfolios.

    Okay, the reason clients hire an advisor is to manage their assets, right? But is asset performance the reason they fire advisors? Are you sure you are focused on the right thing? The number one reason advisors get fired is failure to provide timely communication. The second reason; failure to understand the client’s goals and objectives.

    Solution: A good plan today is better than a great plan tomorrow. If you are spending too much time overworking client portfolios, and you can’t help doing it, there are 2 solutions. Either outsource the money management or develop a disciplined methodology to managing money. Betterment is offering a platform for advisors who want to outsource – here’s the info: But hundreds of other firms, at a range of prices, are available for money management.

Without discipline, managing money is a vicious cycle. The more time you spend on overworking client portfolios, the more you feel the need to get the latest news so you revisit time bandit # 1: watching more infotainment. Stopping the cycle will increase your business and reduce your stress.