How Financial Advisors Can Set Measurable Goals
March 23, 2022
Whether you’re a first-year financial advisor or approaching 20 years in the business, it’s good to think big. But what are some key professional goals for financial advisors? And how can you achieve them? Learn how to set realistic goals for financial advisors and the important steps you can take to make your dreams a reality.
Get a Baseline for the Present
Before you can determine where you’re going, you need a snapshot of where you are today. This requires taking a clear-eyed look at both your successes and failures in all areas of your financial planning business. For example, maybe you’re a marketing guru or a natural people person. Perhaps your productivity and processes leave a bit to be desired when it comes to organization or your prospecting suffers from procrastination. The idea here is to examine honestly what’s working and what’s not and to pinpoint business areas that need attention.
Here are a few questions to start setting realistic financial advisor goals:
- What are the top three accomplishments from this past year?
- What are the top three disappointments from this past year?
- What are my key skills or areas of knowledge?
- What skills or knowledge do I lack?
- What do I want to improve or learn more about?
- What goals from the past year did I achieve?
- What goals from the past year did I miss?
- What would make the biggest impact on my business?
If you’re in your first year of running a wealth management business, you won’t have a track record to review in this step. Ask a more seasoned financial advisor for input — what do they think an ideal first year should entail? What do they wish they focused on more? This will help give you a baseline and ensure your goals are reasonable.
Prioritize Growth Areas
The answers to the above questions may be hard to swallow, especially if you haven’t had a chance to slow down and reflect on your past year. Instead of getting discouraged about where your business fell short, use it as an opportunity to determine what you want your future business growth to look like. How do you see your wealth management business in five years? How is it different than today? How is it capitalizing on your current strengths?
Set SMART Goals
You likely know what a SMART goal is, but it bears repeating:
Set yourself up for success with SMART goals for different time ranges: six months, a year, three years, five years. And remember to revisit them— SMART goals for financial advisors often require adaptation!
Specific: Let’s look at an example. Do you hope to acquire a certain number of clients in one year? Instead of saying “I want more clients this year,” say “I want to acquire three targeted clients each month for the next 12 months.” Be articulate in your goals — this means they’re actionable.
Measurable: Your goals will need to be measurable so you know when you accomplish them. You’ve established what you want the future of your business to look like, now you’ll create the actionable goals that will serve as the building blocks for long-term gains.
Think of it like a simple math problem. To get three targeted clients each month, set a goal to send out 50 LinkedIn messages. If, at the end of the month, you see that you’ve only sent 30, you know you’re off track and should course correct.
Achievable: While some people live for the hustle and grind, chasing after pie-in-the-sky goals can quickly become discouraging if it’s truly out of our reach. If you’ve been averaging one or two new clients a month, three is a reasonable goal — 10 probably isn’t.
And remember: The purpose of goal-setting and goal-achieving is not to be perfect every time. Instead, it’s about responding to feedback and making ongoing adjustments to improve.
Relevant: You already pictured your short- and long-term future. How does this goal help move you toward this? If you hope to grow your book of business by 20% in three years, obtaining three new clients a month certainly supports that vision.
Time-based: Deadlines are crucial to keep you accountable, but we’re not just talking about tomorrow end of day. Smart goals for financial advisors should have a strategic timetable, one that gives you enough time to complete the task at hand but also forces you to prioritize it. In this case, you have a monthly goal for client acquisition.
Assess the Risk
In short, have a Plan B. There will always be challenges to overcoming your goals, so be practical. Ask yourself what might go wrong along the way and have a plan in case that happens.
Grow Your Business
If you’re ready to grow your wealth management business, let’s talk. Farm Bureau is looking for experienced financial advisors for Farm Bureau’s Wealth Management offices.