Increasing Revenue Among Plateaued Financial Advisors

How Gretz Consulting Group Helped a Regional Securities Firm Increase Revenue by >$100 Million per Year


Situation Analysis


A mid-sized, regional brokerage firm in the Southeast had over 400 financial advisors [FAs] who each generated between $500 thousand and $750 thousand in revenue each year but who had not increased their level of production in several years. The firm had tried a variety of solutions to increase the FAs revenue production without success.

 


Research


We met with the President of the firm, the National Sales Manager, the Director of Training, as well as a dozen of the FAs and their sales assistants to discuss the problem and to obtain the perceptions of all the parties involved. We found that:

• Most of the reps felt they were making enough money (average annual salary exceeded $200 thousand) and didn’t feel the extra time and effort to increase revenue production was worth it.
• Few had really profiled their existing clients in depth to determine if they had other needs the firm could meet.
• Few of the FAs were enthusiastic about participating in “one more program.”

We discussed our findings with the President, National Sales Manager and the Director of Training and presented a two-stage training program for the FAs.


Stage I: Generate Interest


To generate interest in the program, we discussed it with a group of thirty FAs who seemed most willing to try something new. Those thirty were then divided into two groups of fifteen who would provide the first test groups for the new program. Their success would generate additional interest among the other plateaued FAs.


Stage II: Execution


Each group would participate in two, one and one-half day programs to improve client relationships, account penetration and referral generation. Each program consisted of a specific core curriculum, but was flexible to meet the needs of participants and conducted in intense, small-group training at the home office.

Part A: after introducing the program and eliciting participant expectations, the curriculum consisted of:

• Change Exercise: Dealing with personal and professional change.
• Managing Your Business for Success.
• Why Are We in Business? Developing a Mission Statement.
• The 2% Differential: Three key factors which set superstars apart.
• The Consultative Selling Mindset.
• Setting character goals.
• Review of Key Communications/Relationship Skills
      • Probing: The psychology of eliciting information from clients.
      • Acknowledging: Communicating your interest to clients.
      • CLAPping: The key to handling problems and resistance.
      • Rapport/Speaking in Positives.
      • The power of positive thinking and relationships.
• Introduction to Business Analysis.
• Setting effective goals and developing your strategic plan.
• Developing a marketing plan. (Requires pre-class assignment)
      • Demographics.
      • Analyze your book of clients.
      • Culling and cloning your book [Creating a client service matrix]
      • Plan development workshop.
• Client-centered prospecting.
• Financial profiling: Eliciting, defining and obtaining client commitment to their goals.
• Buying Criteria: Eliciting and utilizing client’s key buying criteria.
• Consultative Sales Track. The secret of “selling” solutions to problems instead of just products.
• The art of Gaining Referrals.
• Stress management.

Part B: began with participants reporting their success to class members, a review of key skills and Q&A. Curriculum was modified to meet specific needs, but generally consisted of:

• Market Strategies: Developed by Steven R. Drozdeck, this course provides FAs with an overview and explanation of how money managers use the top-down and bottom-up strategies to select securities. It also enabled FAs to more effectively explain current economic factors and market movement.
• Introduction to Advanced Strategic Relationship Skills
• Matching your client’s verbal patterns for better understanding.
• Matching your client’s thinking / decision-making strategies for more effective presentations.
• Implementing your strategic plan.
• Critical Few.
• Introduction to Practice Management.
• Time Management & Delegation
• Dealing with Support Staff


Ongoing monitoring


The coaching and training process was reviewed and updated on a regular basis after meeting with managers, the training and sales directors. We also made modifications to meet the specific needs of each group of FAs.


The Results


According to the firm’s own internal newsletter, participants in the program averaged an increase in revenue production exceeding 45 percent compared with a control group and maintained the increase over at least a one-year period. The meant an average of at least $250 thousand in new revenues for each participant, or a return on investment of training costs of 20-1. The firm gave us a contract to work with all 400 mid-level FAs over the next four years.

 


Testimonials


“I came away from the training feeling empowered to take control of my business… using the rapport skills you provided, I uncovered an additional $2.5 million in client assets the next week.” — Midge Goethe, FC and Vice President.

“Dr. Gretz’s advanced sales training and Steve Drozdeck’s stock selection methodology have helped participating senior brokers increase production by 40-55% while uncovering additional assets and referrals from existing clients.” — James Miller, Vice President, Manager of Professional Development.

“Consultative selling is a big help! Profiling people fully has uncovered a lot of assets among new clients.” — David Griffith, Senior Financial Advisor.