Financial Advisors: Tips for Successful Goal Setting

If you want to succeed as a financial advisor, it’s critical to have a goal-oriented mindset along with well-defined long-term goals. Not only do goals go a long way in offering solutions to short-term issues, but they also give your business a clear direction to grow towards.

Long-term goals are key for developing long-term business growth and tracking success. Here are a few tips for setting effective business goals.

Define Your Long-Term Goals:

Before you can get into the specifics of goal setting, you need to have an idea of the general trajectory of your business and what you ultimately want to achieve. In our system we call this your North Star. We identify this by asking questions like:

What do you want your business to be in five years?
What about 10 years?

We focus on the endgame so that we can reverse engineer that outcome.

These goals may not seem immediately achievable, but that’s OK. The ideal is to be directionally correct. You should go above and beyond what you think you want. Later, you’ll go into the actionable goals or milestones that will ensure that you are on track towards your long-term goals.

Look At Your Present Situation:

The first step to improving yourself or your business is to take a frank look at where you are currently—this is your baseline and starting point.

What do you have to work with?
What can you change?

As an advisor, you look at where your clients are at point A, and how you will help them achieve their goals to get them to point B. Then look at yourself and your practice to see where you can improve.

Consider your environment. How are you spending your time? Who are you spending your time with? Are these conducive to your goals? Could you be spending more time with clients, potential clients, or mentors? Take a look at your schedule and see how you can better utilize your work hours.

Consider your skills and knowledge. Do you have gaps in skills and knowledge that can help you achieve your goals? Maybe you would like to elevate your management skills or get smart on a new computer program. Take the steps you need to improve.

Consider your current results. Do you have any short-term goals that you are trying to hit weekly or monthly? What are your results? Maybe you have a specific goal for finding new clients. Have you been hitting this goal? Why not? This can help you realize where you need to craft better goals or behaviors to improve.

Pair Outcome-Based Goals With Action-Based Goals:

Activity-based goals should go hand in hand with outcome-based goals. Outcome-based goals provide the potential and direction while your activity-based goals provide the actions for achieving designated outcomes. Outcome-based goals are essential in creating direction, but without actionable goals, outcome-based goals can be impractical.

An example of an outcome-based goal might be: “I want to find five new clients in the next two months.” This goal shows the desire for a certain outcome at some point but doesn’t specify how you will achieve it.

Outcome-based goals are not necessarily in your control, so they need to be paired with actionable goals that help you measure progress in achieving your goals. For instance, in order to achieve the goal above, an action-based goal might sound like: “I will contact 20 people a day for the next two months.”

If you fall short of your goals then you can tweak your actionable goals to better your outcomes. Remember that goals need to be measurable. Otherwise, they are just dreams.

Don’t Be a Busy Bee! There is a tendency to set solely activity-based goals without connection to outcomes. This can create the illusion of success but being busy doesn’t mean being productive. Avoid keeping busy for the sake of appearing productive, especially if you are not achieving your larger outcomes. Be truly productive by pairing outcome-based goals with actionable goals.

Plan for Obstacles:

Once you’ve outlined your goals and made sure that they are measurable, then it is time to look at the risks involved. All goals come with risks. Ask yourself what might go wrong; then figure out a contingency plan. If one of those risks becomes a reality, you are more likely to come out ahead if you’ve anticipated how you’ll react.

Remember, it’s important to be prepared for the worst. Plan for obstacles, and plot out some possible plan Bs. Thinking of the negatives is just as important as thinking about the positives. However, there is no need to obsess over the possible difficulties. While obstacles to your goals are inevitable, all you are doing at this stage is assessing risks so that you can mitigate them.

Get Help:

Whether you are new to financial advising or an old pro, you may wonder whether you need help from a coach. Even if you know the basics of the business inside and out, there’s a magic that happens when an outside expert comes onto the scene. They can see the big picture, view your strengths and shortcomings objectively, and see industry trends and help you monetize them.

For instance, if you want to maximize time spent at the gym, you will enlist a personal trainer to help you streamline your processes, learn new things, and get the most out of your workouts. Similarly, a good financial advisor coach can assist you in getting the best results with your business. Getting a good coach is often the key to setting the right goals and achieving them.

As a business coach for financial advisors, my goal is to assist wealth managers in achieving their dreams. Through my financial advisor coaching program, I provide mentoring and inspiration to help financial advisors build the business–and life–they want.