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Success Secrets To Leveraging Time

You should look at utilizing software to cover these seven needs:

  1. Contact management

  2. Portfolio management software for statements

  3. Financial planning analysis software

  4. Market / research management software

  5. Non managed assets tracking software

  6. Hand held pc- time and data management technology

  7. Websites and services

Objective: The most successful financial advisors learned early on in their career that time management is vital to success. How many time management courses have you taken? How many software presentations have you sat through.

If you are like me you embrace what technology can do for your business, yet you lack the time to learn about all the technology that can help your business. I have a file of technology to review, yet I never seem to get to that file.

When I started in the business in 1989, our office was still using rate books and rate cards for insurance. Can you imagine how productive you would be if this were the case today? Making your practice more efficient by leveraging the use of technology.

Imagine if you sold your practice today. Do you have systems in place for gathering data such as name and address lists, prospect and centers of influence lists, a 90 day call rotation schedule for your clients, a review process, a financial planning and research process. Or are you old school and doing it on paper and by memory?

Think of your business as a franchise. If I stepped in tomorrow, would I have technology systems in place to carry on and make it a productive and profitable practice? Or would I have to search in each file for information? Look at your existing software and see if you have all five components to make your practice an effective success.


(1) Contact management: Check out this website for links to some great contact management programs. This is a key area of your business!!

(2) Portfolio Management: Most firms have packaged up software for financial planners, but because we are individual business people, we look for software that we know is useful to our practice. However we don’t want to spend an enormous amount of time and energy learning software, because we know it keeps changing and we can waste valuable time constantly learning new systems.

The strategy is clear. Find the best systems and technology for your practice. This means systems that will leverage time for us, not software that promises to do more than leverage our time. If a software vendor can’t convey this benefit to me in five minutes or less, I simply discard it.

I need cookie cutter systems to run my franchise. Systems that we can learn and use as a team, not some specialty program that will take three weeks to learn and run. Portfolio management software systems which are fully compliant for their representatives. Make sure that you and your team learn the best way to present information to your clients. So many systems have graphics capabilities, and colour does sell. Colour pie charts is an excellent way to illustrate simple concepts to clients.

(3) Financial planning analysis software. There is nothing worse than having your client ask you after being a client for years ' do I have enough money to retire in two years? ' You then respond by saying yes without having a written financial plan to illustrate to them that they indeed have enough to retire.

You may know that they have enough, but it is more important that they understand it and they know. Depending on the type of practice you have such as specialized estate planning or general financial planning, your needs for this software will vary. The basic requirements of the software should be simulations of real life situations for retirement and estate planning. You should also have asset allocation software for simple and advanced portfolio analysis that can also design investment policy statements for your clients.
While there are thousands of variations of software to examine and hundreds of client financial planning situations, a good word processor and spreadsheet will also do a great job of a hand crafted financial plan.

(4) Market / research management software. Years ago I had to pay thousands to have tax programs, research programs and data available on a monthly basis. Now a lot of information is over the internet on some excellent websites for free. I could write another book on the internet and it’s uses for financial planners, but I will summarize that the internet has three main uses, research, client services and marketing communications.

See the strategy on email. Although a majority of information is on the web, there is still a need for professional programs to do additional research. If you sell mutual funds, mutual fund research software can be an invaluable tool for research and creating and simulating portfolios. This software can also help you research insurance, stocks or other investment instruments.

(5) Non managed asset Tracking: Have a way to keep track of your clients other assets that you do not manage. See strategy on managing non-managed assets. How many times have you heard clients mention that they have assets elsewhere that are not working that hard for them and eventually they will bring them to you. You may forget about them, but the client hasn’t. Also at the back of the book is a demo of this type of software that I have designed for my practice and my clients find as a valuable service to keep track of their assets.

(6) Another piece of the puzzle is a piece of technology that replaces your pager, cell phone, day-timer, calculator, notepad and business card index. The technology that takes minutes to learn is an invaluable tool for time management. The pocket pc cell phone / palm pilot system is by far the best piece of equipment since the cell phone came along.

Have you ever driven to an appointment and forgot the address or telephone number? Have you ever made an appointment and had your assistant make an appointment on the same day at the same time and not communicate effectively? With this system, it can be an extremely effective tool for productivity. I had a top producer introduce the system to me and in less than three minutes, I was using the system. This is a no-brainer to add to your practice.

(7) The Internet – Do you use the web on a daily basis? Do your clients ? Do you have a website ? Do you use email on a regular basis? O you have a website strategy? These questions are explored throughout the book in additional strategies, but here are some ideas to help you. First, see where you are spending money on software and see if you can’t get it for free on the internet. Second, look at your website? Can it be improved ? Third, if you are looking for a book of business, send out an email to other representatives who have a website in your area. Finally, check out our website for links to the best marketing ideas and websites for financial advisors.

Grant's Tip: Make sure you don’t spend too much time in front of your computer screen examining and learning software programs. Some advisors use the computer screen as a part of call reluctance. After all you can spend countless hours on the internet at home, why not at work. Take computer courses or have a computer trainer. Put that in your annual planning budget.

Consider the time it takes to complete a full financial plan. Consider hiring someone to do your financial plans. Then you would complete the plan and add in your recommendations. I have certified financial planners who can complete the plans for me and save a lot of time.

For your handheld pc device, make sure that with your team or assistants you inject one rule for setting appointments. Synchronize your software twice a day, first thing and at the end of the day and don’t set appointments in the system for the current day.
As always with all software and technology, make sure you have backup procedures in place and system maintenance. Find a technology person and hire them on contract to maintain your systems.

Make sure as part of your business plan, you allocate enough resources to technology, since technology leverages your time and can make you a lot of money or save you a lot of time.

Ask the top planners what they use for software and ask to see samples of their financial planning documents.

Action summary

To add to my marketing plans Yes ______ No_______

Additional Information required _______

'The most important weapon on earth is the human sole on fire.' Ferdinand Foch

'Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know.' Jim Rohn

Copyright 2003 By: Jay Conrad Levinson and Grant W. Hicks, C.I.M - Co-author of "Guerrilla Marketing For Financial Advisors ", Trafford Publishing 2003.

You may use these articles in your marketing, newsletters and web sites as long as you retain the copyright information at the bottom, including the link to our web site and inform us where it is being used as well as sending us a copy of the publication.

Always check with your compliance office and or branch manager before implementing any marketing idea. The information does not constitute a recommendation for the sale or purchase of any securities or insurance.