3 Ways to Transform Your Financial Advisors Into Superstars
Focus on these, and you’ll be able to build an engaged, high-performing team of financial advisors that will become your unstoppable competitive advantage.
by Terri O’Halloran
You hire two, well-qualified advisors, give them training and expect that they’ll both be superstars. So you’re surprised then when one succeeds and the other fails miserably. What happened?
No one likes a 50% failure rate. But here’s the good news: You can improve those odds and transform ordinary advisors into superstars. In our experience, there are three factors that contribute to the extraordinary success of your best advisors. Focus on these, and you’ll be able to build an engaged, high-performing team that will become your unstoppable competitive advantage.
There’s one area that we call the “game-changing” dimension, because it has a multiplier effect on everything else you do. It’s called Achievement Drive, and it’s often one of the primary characteristics that separates high performers from the rest of the pack. It’s not that some people have it and some people don’t, though. We all have it. But many are held back by their own self-imposed boundaries — what they tell themselves they can achieve versus what’s actually possible, and the emotional roadblocks that keep them from pushing past plateaus. Our research shows that the advisors who consistently outperform the rest are those who release and expand their inner achievement drive.
These advisors set specific goals and develop strategies for attaining them. Not only that, they understand how to remove the emotional barriers that keep them from reaching their goals, and they believe that those goals are possible for them to achieve. High performers take advantage of processes, skills and plans that give them ownership over their success, because that keeps them focused and ignites their purpose and passion to strive for more. Each accomplishment unleashes more confidence, and along with it, an even greater drive to achieve.
Our research into Achievement Drive found another common element among high performers: a manager who recognizes potential, even if the advisor doesn’t see it in themselves, and who knows how to coach that person to constantly stretch their “area of the possible.”
We’ve all had that experience of someone seeing greatness in us that we may not have seen in ourselves. Effective coaches encourage people to tap into their own hidden potential and work with them to overcome self-limiting behaviors. These managers invest the time in coaching because they know that when people feel understood and appreciated, they’ll be intensely loyal. They also understand that by coaching now, they’ll free up more time later. They won’t have to worry about productivity issues or continually replacing those advisors who didn’t make it.
Coaching effectiveness is influenced more by a manager’s values, belief in people and desire to help them grow than by what they know. And it can be as much about the manager’s development as it is about developing others.
Attracting, growing and retaining high-performing advisors and managers won’t be possible over the long term without the foundation of a high-trust culture. High trust provides the turbo-charge for a laser focus on recruiting, development and high expectations. If people don’t trust you, they’re not going to buy in to the culture you’re trying to build.
There are three basic steps for shaping that culture:
- Create a vision of the culture.
- Define what that really means as far as skills and attitudes. How will people act or think differently?
- Then answer the question: How do we develop those skills and attitudes that align with the culture of the future?
Build Your Team of Superstars
Don’t settle for 50%. If you’re doing a good job of selecting advisors to bring on, and you’re providing effective training, there’s no reason they can’t all be superstars.
Here are some practical ideas for creating a high-trust, high-expectations culture that attracts, grows and retains superstar advisors:
- Provide feedback: People want open communication, yet 37% of leaders struggle giving feedback that may cause a negative reaction.
- Show sincere interest: Frequently express genuine belief in the value of each advisor.
- Help people become their best: Point out each advisor’s hidden potential. Sixty percent of people who report to poor coaches think about quitting.
- Improve engagement: Create an atmosphere of trust. Find out what drives each person. Strong coaches have three times as many people who are willing to go the extra mile.
- Coach top performers: Help them grow instead of ignoring them — which often leads to them burning out, plateauing or leaving.