When there’s uncertainty in the world and in the markets, the stress of being a financial advisor can feel overwhelming. Not only are you trying to care for your clients and your staff, we all have extra stress due to the recent lock downs. We have concerns about protecting our own health, the health of our parents and our children. We have no idea when things will return to some sense of “normal,” which weighs heavily on our psyche. So we stay “on guard,” almost waiting for the next shoe to drop. Will the markets react negatively to the next report of earnings, will there be another resurgence of the virus, what?
That kind of stress can lead to all manner of negative outcomes including real physical manifestations, overwhelming fatigue, and/or irritability.
Now more than ever, it’s imperative to schedule some REAL time off – a chance to regroup and get some long overdue rest. If you’re like most advisors you rarely take REAL time off. Yes, you may be physically out of the office but you’re never mentally away from it because you’re afraid if you let your guard down, the wheels might fall off.
Well, here’s the truth: if you don’t get some real time off, the wheels will come off due to sheer overwhelm. Instead of loving your business, you will resent it. Something that once brought you joy and fulfillment will seem like sheer drudgery. Why let it get to that?
As you contemplate the idea of taking some real time for rest and rejuvenation, there are a few points to understand so you can successfully take time off and still grow your business.
Your business will not fall apart unless you do, so take a vacation.
Taking quality time off is an imperative first step to growing your business.
This statement may appear counterintuitive, but it wasn’t until I started taking real time off that my business started to grow. The reason for this is I discovered that a clear head and a rested body created more energy to truly tackle obstacles in growing my business. I would come back from a little R&R with more fresh business development ideas than ever before.
As great as this realization was, it took me a long time to figure this out.
I grew up thinking that working all the time was not only necessary, it was virtuous. So, for the first seven years I never took a day off… NOT ONE. That includes weekends. Looking back, it’s even hard for me to believe I was so foolish about this and didn’t recognize the need for true R&R.
My reasons probably date back to messages I received as a child about the inherent value of work, but it wasn’t until I started taking quality time off that my business started to grow exponentially. I feel like many of us grew up with similar messages about work, and now we struggle to balance working too much and feeling like we’re not working enough.
The truth is, making the decision to take time off forced me to empower the people who worked for me to take care of more of the day-to-day functions of the business. Until I started taking time off, my staff didn’t have to think critically or make important decisions. I was always there and available to do the big-picture thinking and make all of the day-to-day business decisions. I realized much later I had literally stunted my employee’s growth and hence, the growth of the business. Taking time off and empowering my team to make decisions on my behalf was the first key to exponential growth.
Your team, like mine, won’t let the wheels come off when you’re out of office because they don’t want the business the fail any more than you do. It may be your business, but it’s also their livelihood and they don’t want to risk it.
Never, ever, ever use an “out of office” message
It makes me crazy when I contact a financial advisor and I receive an immediate “out of office message.” It makes me realize that advisor has not considered the implications of using that tool. Let me explain…
Keep in mind, what I am about to say may be “anecdotal,” but I’ve heard enough snide remarks from clients, that I feel comfortable sharing what they think when they receive your out of office message. And truthfully, I’ve thought some of these things myself when I’ve received an “out of office” message from a professional with whom I work… and pay.
The bottom line is your clients want to think that every minute of every day you are sitting in front of your computer screen, looking at their portfolio. In their minds, that’s what they hired you to do. Since clients pay you, they expect you to always be on top of what’s going on in the markets and in turn, how it may or may not impact their specific portfolio. They don’t want to think of you being out of the office or unreachable… ever.
Rather than use an out-of-office auto-reply, just have your assistant or another member of your team check your e-mails and respond on your behalf. In my business, I always had multiple people who were responsible for checking my e-mails and responding in a timely manner.
In my opinion, the ONLY thing we, as financial services professionals, can compete on is service. After all, which one of us has any control over the markets? Also, in my opinion, it is virtually impossible to compete on performance because most advisors have access to the exact same investment vehicles.
The one thing that never has to fail us is service, which includes timely responses to emails or calls.
In my practice, I wanted all client emails responded to within one hour. Whether I was in a client meeting, on a conference call, or on vacation on the other side of the world, when a client reached out to me (or anyone else on our team) via e-mail, our goal was always to call or respond to their request within an hour.
That said, I had two offices and eighteen employees. This standard applied to everyone on our team so each team member had to have a back-up system, in case they were on a call, in a meeting, or on vacation as well.
I attribute this level of service to not only retaining a vast majority of our clients, but also receiving a significant number of referrals because our clients could brag about our level of service. You don’t have to let it be complicated – just make it standard practice and train your team. You’ll be amazed how simple and powerful this can be.
Don’t post pictures of you on vacation
In addition to foregoing the use of out-of-office messages, you might want to consider the idea that clients don’t want to think you are using the money they pay you to take fabulous vacations. I made the mistake one time, posting pictures of us on vacation, and you can’t even imagine the snide remarks I received.
Yes, I was taken back by the attitudes and my feelings were hurt, but I got the message and accepted it. From that point forward I didn’t post any pictures online. Instead, I created shared albums on my phone so I could share my pictures with only those I love.
I know it may seem trivial or even petty, but 30+ years in this business has taught me a few truths that simply can’t be argued. This, unfortunately, is one of them.
Cooler heads prevail and fresh eyes see more
Finally, the biggest reason you can take time off and still grow your business is so you can clean your lens. All the hours, calls, plans, meetings, and everything in-between takes a toll on you. Like I mentioned earlier, you can get overwhelmed and end up resenting your business, rather than enjoying your business. With enough stress, your perspective toward prospects and success can get jaded.
You don’t want to end up overwhelmed and negative. Your team, prospects, and clients will sense it… and you could lose all of them. So taking time off to clear your heads and clean your lens (see things with fresh eyes) will help keep you focused on what’s important.
When you’re well-rested, you can come back to the table with fresh eyes and fresh ideas. That’s what allowed me to continue growing as well as I did – coming back to the office with new ideas for business development that I simply could not have created without stepping away from the office.
Get More Training
Again, if you want to learn how you can grow your business without growing your to-do list, I can help.
I give you all my scripts, models, exercises, tips, and inside secrets to building your own multi-million dollar business in the Elite Advisor Success System™. I’ve helped advisors take their businesses to the next level by giving them my exact playbook for serving more clients, making more money, and having more freedom.
If you’re interested in learning how to reach the next level in your business from a Barron’s Top 100 Advisor, I would love to have you on our next live call. Learn more about the program and enroll here.