One question we receive consistently from many advisers is “how many appointments do other advisers fit in in a week?” Now, the answer to this varies with the full job duties of an adviser, but the simple answer is that great advisers routinely do a minimum of 12 appointments every week.
If you are totally focused on seeing clients, you can make that 15. However, if you are managing the business and you need to spend time on managing staff, cashflow and other practice management duties, the client facing time would likely reduce. So too an adviser who spends a lot of time marketing to build up their referral sources and increase their new clients, but if you are not seeing at least 10-12 clients per week, you might want to stop and take a reality check.
Many advisers are surprised by this number if they are currently in a position where they are seeing a lot less than that and are still feeling incredibly busy. So it might help to share a well-structured adviser’s diary for a week.
This is what a typical week might look like:
- Each client meeting should have ninety minutes to two hours blocked off in your diary. If it is a one hour meeting, block out 90 minutes, if it’s a 90 minute meeting block out 2 hours, in order to give you time to prep before the meeting and complete your file notes and strategy considerations afterwards before moving on to your next task.
- You will likely find that you gain some consistency in the length of your meetings – the first few appointments with a new client might be 90 minutes, while a review meeting, or document sign-up meeting might only be an hour. You’ll note that the above diary allows for a range of appointment lengths throughout the week.
- All of your appointments are booked in by your support staff. When was the last time you got a call from your specialist to book in an appointment with them? You will still have phone conversations with clients to discuss advice questions and perhaps raise their awareness of how important it is to come in for their review, but your diary appointments can be managed by staff other than you. The exception is a new client in the on-boarding process, in which case you’ll want to be booking their next meeting before they leave the office.
- Schedule one day – or perhaps two half-day blocks, when you don’t take appointments, so you can allow yourself uninterrupted time to focus on project work, admin or other tasks that are difficult to complete when interrupted.
- Allow yourself to focus completely on the role of being an adviser. Support staff complete paperwork, do data entry, set up client files, scan, follow up paperwork with clients and fund managers, etc. Your SOA’s are written by appropriate staff other than yourself. This doesn’t mean that you delegate strategy development of each client, but you can have a ‘Work in Progress’ or paraplanning meeting every morning to ensure that every client file has your adviser’s view and instructions, and you allow your other staff to do what they are employed to do, with you only in an overseeing role. This works, regardless if your paraplanner is on staff, or outsourced. The best advisers spend as much time as possible either in front of or on the phone with their clients and build and empower a great team around them.
- Your actual diary will depend on the inclusions you provide in your service offers for clients. You might schedule regular phone calls to your clients, to stay in touch with them between their meetings, in which case, one or more of your appointment slots may be allocated to complete three to four outbound client calls.
It is important to have a great assistant/client service manager who you can rely on to implement things as you see all of your clients. Meet with them frequently so you can share notes on what is happening with each client file. It is also their job, or another staff members, to ensure that your diary has the minimum number of client appointments per week. It is their responsibility, their KPI, and if they don’t know who to be calling to be booking appointments, that is a discussion for your WIP meeting.
So what could a year look like? Well if you take into account your four weeks of annual leave, two weeks of public holidays, perhaps two weeks of conference and PD training, and let’s throw in a week of sick leave, that leaves you with 43 weeks in the year. Multiply that by 12 appointments per week, and that comes to 516 meeting opportunities with clients. So let’s say you see 20 clients for first appointments that don’t proceed, you win 30 new clients in the year, and at most you take 4 meetings to bring each of those new clients on.
That leaves you with 376 meetings for existing clients – that’s review meetings or strategic update meetings. So you do the math, if every client sees you twice a year, you can manage 188 clients.
What sort of profitability will your business enjoy if you are being that productive? If you are still struggling to see how this might work, you might enjoy our post on 5 tips to boost your daily productivity.