We all have blind spots. These unseen areas may be unconscious biases or set ways of doing things that could lead to negative outcomes.
When my car finally died, I chose a new hybrid electric car. I thought I’d enjoy the great gas mileage, a reduced carbon footprint, the stereo system and so on.
And I did. But what I loved was the blind spot monitor. This simple yellow light glows just on the edge of the driver and passenger side mirrors when there’s a car I can’t see, letting me know that it’s not safe to change lanes. This is the one device I value most, because it gives me the information I need to remain safe and move forward and of course, not crash.
If you think you don’t have any blind spots, well, you’ve just uncovered one. So let’s begin the new year by diving deep into our practices to uncover any possible barriers in our business habits. I’ll discuss the most common blind spots I notice in my practice — see if any of these topics ring true for you, too.
RETAINING WOMEN CLIENTS
Most advisers say they work well with women, involve both spouses in meetings, and have great relationships with their clients. But according to The Advisor and the Decade of Generational Wealth, a Fidelity Investments research report from 2021, only 46% of advisers are successful in retaining women clients through a wealth transition. And more than 50% of the time, after the death of a male client, the women spouse moves on to another adviser.
Go back and look carefully at your previous retention rates and start tracking how many of your meetings or gatherings both spouses attended. An adviser recently told me about his successful summer appreciation events, hosting two client golf outings with more than 100 attendees. He detailed the laughs, the delicious lunch and their plans to do it again next year. When I asked how many women clients attended, he didn’t know —but eventually, he recalled “a few.” With no plans for an event that may help him engage better with women clients, this adviser could be a blind spot statistic down the road.
WORKING WITH NEXT-GENERATION TEAM MEMBERS
Have you caught yourself thinking that the younger advisers in your office don’t work as hard as you did when you were starting out? Or do you get secretly irritated when a team member wants you to post on LinkedIn or Instagram? These team members are working hard, but because it’s different than what you did or expect, you might not appreciate their contributions.
Keep an open mind about all of the activities in your office, and try to understand that there are many ways to have a meaningful impact. Start asking “why?” or “how?” to initiate a productive dialogue, or consider the ways social media can help attract prospects. This way of thinking opens the door to a deeper discussion that can benefit the whole team.
WORKING WITH SEASONED ADVISERS
Bias can go both ways. Some next-gen advisers think their way of prospecting or servicing clients is so innovative that they have little to learn from their older colleagues. If you resort to this mindset, you may be missing out on a breadth of experience that could help you avoid mistakes and better position your practice for success. Listening to your fellow advisers could inspire new ideas, and you might be shocked at how much strategy you have in common, even if the tactics are different.
STAYING TECHNOLOGICALLY INFORMED
Some advisers are naturally skilled at leveraging technology and putting it to good use. But many advisers fail to keep up with new tools and devices that can make their practices more efficient. For instance, when did you last invest in new equipment, have a tech upgrade or talk to your home office about enhancements? An hour or two spent learning what’s new could help you streamline operations and save you valuable time.
It’s probably impossible to completely eliminate our blind spots. But if we can discover other ways to identify and mediate them, we can limit our risk and increase our chance of success. And that’s the type of advice financial advisors need to start the new year strong.
Kristine McManus serves as vice president and chief business development officer at Commonwealth Financial Network.
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.