The other day after dropping my kids at school, I caught a
report on National Public Radio about productivity and the economy. David Wessel, deputy bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, was interviewed and shared several good observations. Here's what they boiled down to in case you missed
#1 - In today's world, productivity drives (and sustains) prosperity.
#2 - What drives productivity? Knowledge and technology.
#3 - How do you raise productivity? In part, by educating your workforce on making better use of their tools and information.
Bingo. In other words, learn to leverage the resources you own to compete for and win more business.
...The problem is sometimes the resources you "own" aren't so obvious. Like the one highlighted in this month's tip. It's hiding in plain sight right there in front of you.
As you read, think about the tools, information, and people at your disposal. Are you taking full advantage of them? If not you're paying a price, an opportunity cost. Which, for most readers means foregoing time in front clients
and prospects building and managing relationships. Selling and servicing.
You're on your way to reducing that cost when you start building systems into your business that let you delegate and automate as much as possible. Stuff like what's listed in the coaching article
below. If you're stuck trying to step up to your next level call me. Let's explore how to increase your success systematically.
Have a great weekend!
Inexpensive Ways of Outsourcing to Increase Your Selling Time
As I was wrapping up a presentation recently one of the attendees, Alan (an advisor with a regional brokerage firm), raised his hand.
"I love your ideas on identifying groups and sites that cater to the kind of clients I'm interested in. Reading what they read, being where they gather, plugging into their passions… it all makes sense. But I'm a one-man band. I share a
single sales assistant with two other guys so she certainly doesn't have the time to do what you're talking about. And frankly, I don't think it's my role. My job is to bring in the business. So, how do you recommend a guy like me get what
you're talking about done?"
Acknowledging the challenge of figuring out exactly how to work smarter, I encouraged Alan to step outside his rainmaker role and put on his business owner's hat. Simply put, he had a research need. How do you address those? One way
is to outsource the task… to an intern (through
Experience's eRecruiting), a virtual assistant (using
AssistU), a returning-to-work parent (by posting on
Craigslist or in your local paper), or a freelancer (at
Elance). (I talk about most of those approaches in Chapter 6 of
Winning Clients in a Wired World -- "Get the Help You Need to Succeed".)
Another "outside the box" solution is to tap the expertise of the reference desk librarians at your local public libraries. Jot down the kinds of group(s) you want to learn more about and what you'd like to learn… and then
visit the library or call for help.
Librarians are among the best researchers and information professionals out there but one thing they're not is mind readers. Help them help you by framing your questions the right way. The more specifically you can describe what you're
looking for, the better. Here are some examples:
They'll take your question and (courtesy of taxpayer support) dig into a reservoir of resources that would cost you or I a fortune to subscribe to individually: periodical and other databases that can provide a wealth of information on
virtually any topic -- tools like Hoovers, Lexis Nexis, Gale Group's Business and Company Resource Center, and others.
Can you help me identify what associations and publications cater to people in the __________ industry?
Where do people in that industry meet, when do those meetings occur, are there any coming up locally in the next month, quarter, year?
What pressing issues are companies and people in the __________ industry currently facing?
What (and whom) do people in the audience I'm interested in read to keep up with new developments on __________?
Which web sites and publications are most popular among people who like to __________ in their free time?
I'm looking for current articles on __________ and/or what web sites and publications do people go to when they want to learn more about that subject (a hobby, activity/event, travel destination, charity, medical condition, particular life
event… whatever helps you better understand those you're researching)?
Now here's the $10,000 secret: many of those same tools are available to you right from your computer for the mere price of a borrower's card, which is free in most cases.
If you find that your local library doesn't offer a wide enough range of the online tools you want, for $100 a year you can register as a patron of the
New York Public Library or the
Toronto Public Library, two of the preeminent library systems in North America. (In Toronto, you'll have to register in person.)
OK Kip, I'm sold. Where can I find a list of libraries in my area?
The fastest way is to Google your city or town and the phrase "public library" (be sure to include the quotes to indicate it's an exact phrase). If that doesn't bring them up, visit
The WWW Library Directory. Both offer comprehensive guides with links to library sites organized by state (PublicLibraries.com) or country and state (WWW Library). PublicLibraries.com includes the address and phone number of each
branch right on the page (not just a link to its site)… which is a real timesaver.
Systemizing, delegating, and outsourcing are huge issues for advisors. Doing them well takes effort. It requires thought. And then it requires action. Approaches like what I've suggested are smart, inexpensive ways to work
around resource constraints. The problem is they're overlooked by 99% of the people who could benefit from them most. And that's one trend you don't want to follow.
Ways We Can Help You Improve Results
One-on-One and Team Coaching
Every successful financial services professional I've met shares a common passion. They like to compete and they love to win. That may mean landing a big client, making more money, working fewer hours, building a great team, buying or
selling a business, or any number of other things.
What's usually easy is determining a goal. The hard part is figuring out how to achieve it -- and then getting it done. What to do first, second, third, tenth. Succeeding intentionally, not by accident.
Guiding clients in clarifying their goals and mapping out and executing a game plan to accomplish them is the essence of my coaching work. If you're not reaching your potential and any of the following are problem areas for you,
we should talk:
Of course those are just a few ways I can help you. There are others. Together we'll decide what to concentrate on after you complete some initial assessment tools.
Finding and fixing productivity leaks - minimizing the time you lose to email, putting a stop to recreating information you know you already have, locating what you need online faster, and delivering on follow-up commitments
more efficiently are just a few examples
Defining sales and service processes – from contact to contract to ongoing care and feeding of clients… understanding who does what when, and where technology fits (or could fit) into the picture
Developing a marketing communication strategy and calendar – mapping out an annual plan for keeping in touch with and in front of clients, prospects, centers of influence, and the media
Cultivating referrals from current clients – strategies and tactics for expanding your business with help from those who know it best
Designing a step-by-step improvement plan for strengthening key aspects of your business - identifying opportunities and developing work flows in designated areas of the practice
Team building and successful delegation – defining the vision, setting expectations, identifying desired results, managing the process, and the tools that make it easier
And it's not all talk. We'll roll up our sleeves to address specific objectives and develop practical ways of achieving them -- through smarter use of people, process, and personal technology -- focusing everywhere possible on executing
those strategies using resources you already own.
We'll also draw on a variety of proprietary tools -- forms, worksheets, databases, and online conferencing (all available at
http://gregory-group.webexone.com) -- designed to help you reach your next level of success.
Sessions run roughly an hour on whatever schedule works for you… all in the comfort and convenience of your office. Which means everyone on your team can participate. There's no travel expense or time lost in traffic, and no nights spent
in a "bootcamp" hotel room.
email or call me now (202-364-6913) and let's visit.
Remember: the results you're seeking won't happen on their own.
(If you want to get started on developing your business improvement plan immediately, download the
Checklist of Challenges and
Self-Assessment Questionnaire from the Winning Clients Web site. Together those worksheets will help you define your goals and identify specific areas you want to address... and give me useful insight into what you want to accomplish
should we work together.)
Keynote, Breakout, and Workshop Speaking
Please keep me in mind if you're involved in booking or recommending speakers for national or chapter events at AICPA, FPA, NAIFA, NAPFA, the Society for Financial Service Professionals, or any other industry group. My sessions offer the
kind of practical, innovative, take-it-back-to-the-office-and-put-it-to-work-immediately value attendees are looking for... useful content that will save them time, increase their income, and improve their effectiveness.
Or perhaps you work for a product or service provider and you're currently planning a national sales meeting, due diligence road show, or sales force training calendar. Let me show you how to increase your meeting ROI by delivering
tangible, value-added content that draws advisors closer to your firm and helps both you and them do more business.
email or call me at 202.364.6913 to explore how I'll assist you in getting more mileage from your event. I'd be happy to schedule a webinar with your and your colleagues to see and hear my material firsthand.
Until next time wishing you all the best,
The Gregory Group: Teaching Clients to Leverage Their Time, Talent, and Technology to Increase Productivity and Profit
© 2006 Kip Gregory. All Rights Reserved. Reproducing or republishing this content either electronically or in print without prior permission is prohibited.