My mantra is process. Process should support outcomes, which build on the vision. The process should be known, standardized, repeatable and implemented without issues (or adjusted until it is nearly flawless). However, when I talk to financial advisors, I find that most have informal or inconsistent processes. People often say, “Well, we have no sales process.” There’s always a process, it just might not be known, standardized or repeatable. As a result, it is poorly implemented or utilized. Generally, the problem with process(es), or the assumed lack thereof, exists in the informality and inconsistency of the process(es) that actually do exist.
This is all fine and dandy in theory, but where do financial advisors really go wrong? They run without creating a clear path of what they want to achieve, and they fail to train their staff along the way. Letting employees fend for themselves is not a solution to anything, let alone processes vital to a business.
To be fair, there is no instruction manual for how to best run a financial planning firm. Until now! AUM in a Box offers blog posts, webinars and on-demand classes to help you will all aspects of your financial advising firm. Before AUM in a Box, there wasn’t a lot of middle ground or published best practices on how to do this sort of thing, and most people were working based on the context of how they thought things should be done.
In the end, what companies are not getting is a whole lot of meaningful instruction, guidance or clarity on what they want to achieve, or how they should go about reaching a certain outcome. The other big challenge is that what they have been doing is often burdensome, because it creates clutter, which makes workflow difficult for employees to perform consistently.
So what do you do to create a process?
AUM in a Box offers tools and resources to help you perfect your process. But our success would be lost if we didn’t share it with you. Our goal is to share our successes to enable financial advisors to reach your own goals. Here’s a great example of how we’ve learned along the way to implement processes to empower our employees more, make our business more efficient, and better server our clients.
Three years ago we set out to completely reorganize our process for our procedures. I hired a director of operations to complete this task. What we created was a simple explanation and road map of what we were going to do. We call it the P & P Project – Process for the Procedures. Here’s what it looks like:
P & P Project
1. Defining Purpose
- Purpose: Why are we doing the P&P Project?
- Be prepared for growth
- Increase efficiency
- Create a consistent client experience
- Provide coverage when employees are out
- Increase “person efficiency” so you can think about “bigger” issues (eliminate daily decision-making)
2. Outcome Visioning
- What does a wildly successful completion of the P&P Project look like?
- Completed with as little work as possible
- Fulfills our purpose
- Finished product is USABLE, easy to update
- Creates our competitive advantage: Faster, Simpler, Cheaper
3. How to make the P&P Project Faster, Simpler, Cheaper?
- Use templates to create the policy, procedure & checklists
- Audit existing procedures and if they work, put it in the template format and move to the new procedure folder
- Checklists can be in Word or Excel
- Create a table of contents to make it usable
As a result of the P&P Project, we became clear on what we needed to do, and we created a road map for new employees to learn and understand what they need to do within the first 90 days of work. It’s worked so well for us that we even started a new company.
Today, we have a well-oiled machine. It took work, but we’ve already reaped the benefits. We work more efficiently; we know what needs to get done when; we can track our goals; and we can handle prospects better by knowing where we need to apply more work or not.
Learn from our success. How can you create a road map and processes for your procedures?