In a couple of days you will see a flurry of articles and multimedia content concerning our annual Advisor of the Year finalists. With that on my mind, I keep coming back to a conversation I had last week where I was asked a pretty direct question: Just how do you come up with the Advisor of the Year candidates?
Wow, talk about a tough question. I didn’t exactly reel off a pat answer. In fact, I rambled on and on for what seemed like 20 minutes. And that’s OK. An Advisor of the Year finalist is not an easy recipe with pat ingredients.
I’m thinking of the Olympics where the swimmers, for example, have specific physical traits. Michael Phelps is, perhaps, the best example. Although he’s been jostled a bit from his throne, physically, he still looks the part with his extraordinarily long arms and legs to go along with flipper-like hands and feet. Let’s face it: You just aren’t going to see a lot of stumpy Olympic-level swimmers.
As for advisors, the unique traits that resonate with us are not as easy to discern. But when we come across an Advisor of the Year candidate, we know it. That old Spidey sense starts tingling. And, as I found out last week when questioned about it, it’s not all that easy to put into words due to the intangibles. But, for the sake of it, let me give it a shot.
Before we know it, we’ll be accepting nominations for 2013 Advisor of the Year so let me go ahead and give you the best cheat sheet I can.
- Production. I put this item first, though it’s not the deciding factor. We need the advisors to hit a certain threshold of $5 million in total production, but anything above that is icing on the cake.
- Suitability. Yes, doing the right thing matters. Being squeaky clean is extremely important in this whole process.
- Community Involvement. In our advisor survey the past couple years we’ve asked the question: What’s working? Topping the list for successive years has been community involvement. It’s helped brand advisors as leaders in their community and also helped earned trust with clients.
- Connection with Clients. Now, we’re getting into the squishy stuff. How do you define “connecting with clients?” There’s no simple answer. But when I talk with an advisor and hear their story, hear the emotion in their voice when talking about their clients, yeah, that can really go a long way. We love that human connection. These are, after all, human beings, many in great need of financial help, on the other end of these transactions. Which leads us to the final tipping point I’m going to discuss today:
- The Journey. Being a writer, I’m a sucker for a good story. Hearing the path an advisor took to get to their position in the industry is often a deciding factor.
Although the Advisor of the Year candidates for 2012 have already been chosen, remember that it’s never too early for next year. If you or someone you know is Advisor of the Year material, shoot me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
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