Here are two exercises that can help you be more efficient today and also serve as the foundation of your practice's continuity plan.
- Establish a list of Top 10 Mistakes and Errors that occur in each role.
- Establish a step-by-step checklist for each major phase of Client Engagement.
Hi folks. We're entering what feels like week 100 of this crisis and likely you've been on a ton of webinars and videos lately around how to stay productive and active and how to be efficient working from home. And I just want to let you all know that we are here for you as well. We have a COVID resource section on our site, specifically for advisors and teams trying to figure out how to thrive business-wise during a crisis like this and continue to serve clients powerfully. There's a lot of content on there around digital prospecting, reaching out to clients and the end consumer, leading a team and clients using powerful communication and a whole bunch of other stuff. So feel free to use that content and download it as you see fit.
So what I want to talk about today is the fact that, if we were to find the silver lining in this, we've been given as business owners a gift in that we can spend more intentional time probably than we ever have thinking about the business and assessing its durability. One exercise I often do with clients is thinking about if we were to remove the advisor and the support team from the business for some reason and put in a replacement team for a period of time, would that replacement team be able to run the business? Are there enough structures and systems in place for the business to maybe not thrive, but survive and maintain? And is the brand strong enough to be able to bring in prospects without a lead rainmaker having to rain-make? And I think we're ironically in a situation right now, where we've had to assess and think through and test all of that without knowing that we have to do that this year.
And so there's a couple of things that I want you folks to do now as a team that can not only help you be operationally efficient right now and continue to grow, but can also inform the way in which you build your continuity plan over the next couple of months. Now, continuity plans don't have to be long documents, operating agreements that are signed by an attorney. A continuity plan can simply be, in my mind, a word document that lists out all the different ways in which you have systematized different areas of the practice. And if we think about our continuity plan that way, then it'll be easier for us to put something together, really a document together, that captures and encapsulates everything we do in the business that's repeatable and that we could use to teach new team members who may come onto the practice about how we run things at the practice.
And so a couple of things I want you to do. I want you as a team – and include this on your team meeting's agendas every week for the next six weeks – you should be meeting as a team of course as your usual Monday meetings now virtually. I would recommend also doing catch-ups every day. It's really important that we replicate as best as we can that natural rapport building and comradery building that happens when we're face to face with each other every day. And so the weekly team meetings on Mondays, 20-minute video catch-ups at some point throughout the day. By the way, if you have trouble finding 20 minutes in your calendar every day to meet with your team, then you likely have an operational efficiency issue and perhaps need to hire somebody or leverage technology a bit better. So we can find 20 minutes to catch up with our team at the end of the day.
But the next team meeting's agenda should include, number one, our top 10 list of things that go wrong in our roles. The top 10 mistakes that we make. And you might think this is an unusual place to start, but again, remember this exercise is going to help us not only be efficient now but also inform the way in which we build our continuity plan over the longterm. And so everyone comes to the table with the mistakes that they tend to make or the errors that naturally happen. For service team members, this is going to be a good time for them to look at processes and systems and think about the things that they tend to forget, maybe because they aren't systematized or because there are so many one-off scenarios in your business.
And so this exercise is not designed to call anyone out or make people feel negative or upset. It's really meant as a way for us to come together and say, "Hey, look, this has given me some time to really think about our systems and the fact that they're not streamlined. And this is what I've noticed about where the most errors occur." And so advisors, you're coming to the table with that as well. And for you folks, a lot of it may be around dictation and sticking to your schedule and things like that. And so you're coming with your list of your top 10 things. And everybody has that, maybe it's on a Post-it, maybe it's not a piece of paper, but it's at their desk. It's in a shared document somewhere on Google drive and you folks are now holding yourselves accountable to not making those errors moving forward.
The second thing you're doing is, and you can either assign one person to do this or you can do this collectively as a team, you are taking the client engagement spectrum, starting from prospect to becoming a client. So prospect, we get a referral, a business card of somebody who is a referral, that person goes into CRM and now we have to try to get in touch with them and get them in for the initial meetings. Starting from that all the way through to review meetings that happen in any given year with a client. And we're creating a very simple set of steps that have to occur and that do occur each and every time at each of those phases of the engagement.
So at onboarding, it's going to be things like within 24 hours of the initial meeting, service team member calls to set the client up on the client portal. I'm making stuff up, but you get the idea here. Review meetings, what correspondence goes out to clients, when? A week before the meeting, maybe they get a team meeting, a review meeting agenda. If they don't respond to that email three days before the meeting, the service person follows up with them to ask if they have any edits to the agenda. Morning of, the conference room's getting set up or we're checking the Zoom to make sure it works. And so step by step by step, there's never been a better time than now to do that. Folks, if you really struggle with utilizing the CRM to your advantage and customizing it the way the CRM should be customized, do it in an Excel spreadsheet, and have each team member take a different part of the client spectrum that they are heavily involved in and list out those steps.
And in the following meeting the week later, so if you're doing your meeting this Friday, next Friday, you're sharing and walking through each of those steps, and together as a team solidifying whether that's your process for doing stuff. And so those are the two things that I want you to start as soon as you have your next team meeting. The other thing that I want you to do is to create some accountability structure to staying committed to those processes. Whether it's hiring an outside coach… By the way, there's never been a better time than now to hire somebody to actually serve as an objective voice and keep you accountable. Of course, we can help without it if you want. But otherwise set up a battle buddy system internally where each of you has a person on the team that is designated and assigned to help keep you accountable because sometimes we do need that little push from somebody else that makes sure we're not reverting back to old behaviors.
So those are the three things than I want you thinking about in terms of creating efficiencies now that we can also use in a more powerful way moving forward. Okay, I hope that was helpful. Feel free to reach out to us if we can help you in any way and we can make this time working from home a little bit easier or more pleasant. We're here for you. So I will see you next week. Same place, same time. Take care, folks.