Four characteristics of a ‘winning adviser'

We all know that sometimes there is comfort in the detail. Taking a deep dive to better understand a client, to pick apart a process or to have something that you are determined to extract more value from. Sometimes it takes a simple reminder to look at the big picture and remember the key things that really make a difference to your business and your clients, including the ‘four key characteristics of winning advisers’:

1. Winning with strong teams.

”First, fix your team. Then, you will fix your business.”
    Tim Noonan

This is the most important rule for advisers to build value in their business.

At the foundation, team members need to understand their goals and their responsibilities, but also have an environment where everyone’s contributions are valued – where issues can be identified honestly and resolved respectfully.

Empower your teams through strong process and clear expectations – your clients will value this. Clients can sense disorder, often before you have. A cluttered office, a grumpy receptionist, and frequently rescheduled meetings all reflect on you and your business.

Finally, be wary of any egos in your team – including your own. Too much ego can be a catalyst for disruption and disharmony in a team, and undo any other value that you have created.

2. Be the expert of your local economy.

It is one thing to be connected to your community, but it is another to have an intimate understanding of how wealth moves in your local economy. Understand the owners of wealth, but also the service providers and stakeholders associated with the flow of this wealth. For example, if one of the largest businesses in your community is a commercial construction company, there are multiple businesses associated with the firm’s success, such as:

  • The architecture firm that creates their building plans,
  • The bank that loans them money,
  • The commercial real estate agency that sells building space…and more.

To act on this information, successful advisers need to be a genuine part of their communities and build legitimate relationships with centres of influence. Go to community events, eat the bad meat pies – and don’t regret any of it.

At the end of the day, your interest in your community’s economic health must be something you mean, live and love – sales will get you started, but commitment to the standard of your service will bring longevity to your business.

3. Get greedy with your time – be efficient with your division of labour.

This is often easy to say, but it is important to really follow through. Avoid low impact or relatively low value activities. Invest some time upfront to find ways to systematise, build processes or outsource – and you will reap ongoing rewards for your initial investment.

Importantly – dial up where you ‘add value’. Firstly, you must be able to articulate what is your value or your uniqueness, and make sure you align that with the way you service your clients. Make sure they know the unique value they are getting from you.

Just as you are finding time efficiencies in your business, do this also for your clients. Help your clients to differentiate what information and actions are important for them – make it obvious and clear that you are optimising their time as well as your own.

4. Measure your competitive success – win through your team.

Consistent measurement is central to understanding what is working and what needs work. So the first step is identifying your metric – and sticking to it. No metric is perfect, but it is important that you have consistency in how you measure your progress.

The next step is to make sure your whole team knows, understands and signs up to this metric. Make sure they know how they contribute to your business goals. If they don’t – they are not a suitable fit for your team.

But be equally generous with those that are committed and contribute to your team goals. Generosity can be financial, but also can include other benefits – scheduling flexibility or subsidised education, for example. You and your clients will be rewarded with their loyalty.


Issued by Russell Investment Management Ltd ABN 53 068 338 974, AFS Licence 247185 (RIM). This document provides general information only and has not prepared having regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making an investment decision, you need to consider whether this information is appropriate to your objectives, financial situation or needs. This information has been compiled from sources considered to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. Copyright © 2015 Russell Investments. All rights reserved. This material is proprietary and may not be reproduced, transferred, or distributed in any form without prior written permission from Russell Investments.