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by Daniel Finley

It may not be a surprise to hear that many financial advisers reach a plateau in their later years of business. By this time, most advisers have an established book of clients, have already cross sold additional services and products to their existing clients, and may have reduced or eliminated the activities that previously grew their businesses.

Understanding the following steps to kick-start your business is vital. Perhaps there is a New Year’s resolution here for you?  

Step 1: Develop a Prospecting Mindset

Advisers who want to get beyond the plateau must first adopt a prospecting frame of mind. Something has likely held them back from prospecting. They may be on what I call the “production trend line,” which is the area between working just hard enough to feel comfortable with what you are making and working smart enough that you are reaching new levels of success. 

Many established advisers don’t actually have a pipeline anymore; the only new clients they bring on are ones who are conveniently dropped in their laps by clients who happen to mention that friends or relatives might need their services. 

Step 2: Discover Your Prospecting Methods

Prospecting can be a monotonous activity if you use only one form of it. Let’s face it, you will burn out doing the same thing all the time. However, if you choose several forms of prospecting, you can create some excitement in your prospecting efforts.  

The five most common forms of prospecting have traditionally been cold calling, cold walking, seminars, networking, and referrals. Choose two that you like to do and incorporate them into your prospecting campaigns.

Any form of prospecting may make advisers anxious, because of the fear of rejection. A common challenge for many veterans who are experiencing a business plateau is a belief system toward rejection. It is a learned behavior that prospecting equals pain, and that may be enough to cause advisers to avoid it. But it may be more painful to stay stuck on the plateau than jumping back into prospecting.

Step 3: Develop a Prospecting System

Often times, when an adviser has the right mindset and knows the types of prospecting methods he or she will use, they want to quickly get back to what they remember doing and begin prospecting like they did in their early days. The challenge is that most rookies do not have a well thought-out system.

Your prospecting system or process should include:

  • Clear target market
  • Strong value proposition
  • Defined goals and objectives
  • Well-planned prospecting systems
  • Regular implementation of prospecting system

Step 4: Manage New Prospects

Proper planning and execution of a prospecting system may result in the challenge of how to effectively manage the new prospects.

Adhere to some sort of tracking system. Consider something simple, such as the “new business strategy list,” a tool I designed to help advisers know who is in the pipeline and at what stage. That way, advisers can continuously focus on the activities and not just the results.

Step 5: Access and Adjust the Plan

Once an adviser is able to kick-start his or her business, the only thing left to do is ensure they continue sustaining momentum by accessing the plan and evaluating their goals, objectives, and results. Then, adjust the plan by defining any new challenges, determining new solutions, and applying them. 

Assessing the plan may be simple, but not necessarily easy. The simple part is looking at the numbers. The difficult part may be understanding why initial contacts are not translating into new prospects going into the pipeline. 

Review and evaluate your approach. If you’re making phone calls, do you need to slow down, conveying your message in a calm, confident voice? Do you need to fine-tune your introduction monologue so you get prospects curious where they want to hear more? Practice your various approaches with colleagues or friends through role playing until you hone your skills. 

Assessing and adjusting your plan does not happen overnight; it takes time to build momentum. But if this sounds like where you are in your career, do not waste time staying stuck on a plateau. Instead, take a leap of faith and get beyond your fears.

Daniel Finely is head of Advisor Solutions Inc., ( and author of 101 Advisor Solutions: A Financial Advisor’s Guide to Strategies that Educate, Motivate and Inspire! Contact him HERE.

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