Lack of time is one of the biggest excuses advisors have for failing to focus on marketing. “I don’t know when I can fit it in!” they exclaim. Luckily, you can free up more of your time and energy to concentrate on essential business development tasks (or other parts of your business where you are the best fit to do the work). But, before you start to shift your effort, you have to know where you are now.
Table of Contents
- Which tasks fall on your to-do list ?
- The 5-Step Task Triage exercise for managing your time
- Step 1: TOSS – Eliminate tasks that no longer fit or matter
- Step 2: TABLE – Create your “not now” task list
- Step 3: TECH – Leverage technology solutions to handle tasks
- Step 4 : TEAM – Find the humans who can help you
- TAKE: Step 5 – Lead your business and take on high value tasks.
- Get excited about your tasks by taking initiative.
Which tasks fall on your to-do list ?
If you want to lessen or redirect your effort, you must first identify there tasks that draw on your personal resources.
Try this task capturing exercise:
Take a 2-4 week period and log EVERY TASK you do each day. You’re probably already resisting because it is tedious, It can be easy to overlook this step and simply jot down a few tasks you don’t want to do. This is a start, but to get a more powerful impact, logging what you’re actually spending time on is invaluable. (For this exercise, keep it to your professional efforts. You can always expand the view once you’ve freed up time here) .
Add to the list anything that does not show up that you wish you had time to do. This is about freeing up resources so you can begin to shift your effort to focusing on marketing, sales, relationship management or other high impact areas of your business. Along the way, we want to get rid of a scatter-shot approach and the inclination to spread yourself too thin.
With this information in hand you can apply a 5-Step Task Triage exercise to gain more hours, energy and yield as you prioritize your work, streamline tasks, and find new resources. Start first by paring down the list.
The 5-Step Task Triage exercise for managing your time
Using a spreadsheet, whiteboard, or other information visualization tool, list out all of the tasks on the left hand side. Then, label five columns as shown in Exhibit 1. You will then evaluate and categorize each task as your work your way through the steps below.
Step 1: TOSS – Eliminate tasks that no longer fit or matter
A clear marketing strategy can make tossing tasks easier. When you have clarity on the high-value hyper-value client you want to attract to your firm, you can cross off marketing efforts you currently do that no longer matter. You’ll have clarity on what types of content to develop, which partners are best suited for collaboration and where to show up to attract clients.
You can also redirect any current prospects in your sales pipeline who are not a fit. This is the perfect time to send them to alternate solutions. When it comes to clients you’ve dreamed of firing, you may choose to act on this now, too. They and all of the tasks that follow them will disappear and your energy will soar!
Step 2: TABLE – Create your “not now” task list
Shining new strategies, software, tools or tactics can distract advisors. Dabbling in these pursuits, or even giving them mindshare, can dilute your efforts Table those ideas and related tasks you cannot do well right now or do not align with a current business priority. Feel comfort knowing the idea won’t disappear, but you can wait and see if its appeal tarnishes while you focus on higher priorities.
For example, maybe you’re excited to try out ChatGPT for writing blog articles, but with limited bandwidth to learn how to prompt properly, review and edit the content, it may make more sense to wait on AI right now. (See Step 4 and hire an industry-knowledgeable copywriter to help you). If your focus is on deepening client relationships this year, then daily original posts on social media may not serve you right now.
Also, if you are directing more of your time meeting with centers of influence seeking referrals, and you haven’t established your core marketing assets, then you can reduce those unaligned initiatives until you connect with your audience directly. If you’re dabbling in Facebook ads but haven’t established a lead magnet, stop that spend and get your foundation in place.
Step 3: TECH – Leverage technology solutions to handle tasks
One of the best “employees” is technology. Which of the efforts in your long list has a technology solution that could handle the bulk of the effort (or all of it!) for you? You may not know your options, but you can start to look (Refer to the T3/Inside Information annual software survey to see what is popular among the advisor community). Highlight all of the items on your list for which you want to consider a technology solution.
When it comes to marketing and sales support, technology solutions can make a big difference in efficiency. Some of the common examples to lighten your load are:
- CRM: Redtail, Wealthbox, Salesforce, Hubspot – This technology helps you track the progress of your prospects through your sales funnel and trigger tasks when it’s time to reach out to clients. When you can integrate your email management system with your CRM (or have them be one in the same), you can get more power from your efforts.
- Email management system: Mailchimp and Constant Contact for entry level, ConvertKit, Active Campaign, Salesforce, Hubspot, SendGrid are more advanced options. Use one of these email management applications’ autoresponder feature to communicate with new leads who come into your relationship marketing system. Send out your regular blog digests, promotional emails, or newsletter using this technology. Tag and segment your contacts, establish campaigns that fit, and create automations based on the action or inaction a single person takes.
- Project management software: Asana, Monday.com, Trello, teamwork all track projects at the task and ownership level. This software makes it easy to know the progress of a project, keep track of your ‘Table’ list, prioritize efforts and set deadlines. All people on the team stay up to speed through this type of platform.
- Social Media scheduling tools: Buffer, Hootsuite or MeetEdgar: These social media sharing tools help you expand your brand’s reach. Load up Facebook and LinkedIn posts and then the drip them out over time. Break down blog posts into content campaigns and schedule them ahead of time to gain leverage and keep a consistent presence in the online marketplace. Leverage videos you’ve created to generate awareness among your audience.
- Appointment scheduling software: Calendly, Oncehub or Accuity: Screen prospects with surveys, reduce your no-show rate and text or email appointment confirmations using one of these apps. Expect massive time saved!
Step 4 : TEAM – Find the humans who can help you
Whether you have an in-house team or you utilize contractors and service providers, be sure you are leveraging the best skills of each of your team members. We operate in a world with an expanding sharing economy where entrepreneurs abound with the skills you need for freelance or project-based work.
Categorize the tasks on your list under the “team” columns if they can be implemented or managed by another human (that is not you!). Seek out help. For example:
- Confirm appointments with a human touch. Use a service like My Receptionist or Ruby to answer your phone, reach out to confirm meetings, or check in with clients.
- Design infographics, edit videos, update your web site, design presentations, develop excel spreadsheet models, or handle other one-time projects: Upwork, Fiverr
- Gain the support of a Virtual assistant: The range of activities you can outsource to a VA is never-ending. Use a service such as Time,Etc. or Belay to find an experienced, vetted U.S-based assistant who can hit the ground running.
Example tasks to delegate to a virtual assistant
- Email and inbox management
- Data entry and database management
- Researching vendors, content partners, speaking opportunities, software solutions, etc.
- Update Project management tasks and keep you accountable to due dates
- Send client birthday or holiday cards and gifts
- Research event venues and prepare and mail invitations
- Monitoring your social media to let you know when to comment, reply, or respond to a message (or do it for you!)
- Planning travel and complete expense reports
- Organizing reports and documents
- Managing customer service requests
- Checking voicemail and returning phone calls
- Manage contact us /website form inquiries
TAKE: Step 5 – Lead your business and take on high value tasks.
As you eliminate efforts, table distractions, and shift responsibilities to team members and technology, what remains are the areas that you want to do or provide the most value for your firm. With your newfound availability and energy, you can focus on working on the business, leading the firm and contributing by focusing on the highest best use of your time.
Get excited about your tasks by taking initiative.
As with any long term sustainable improvements, you will have to muster activation energy. If you do not yet have your support system buttoned up, you are probably expending as much or even more effort spinning your wheels trying to do it all than you will following this 5-Step Task Triage approach. Start with the exercise above and list out your tasks. From there, follow the steps and prioritize how your use your resources. You’ll be surprised how quickly you start to see new opportunities to delegate or eliminate.
“I don’t have time” will no longer be a viable excuse to avoid marketing.
Kristin is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. Managing her own firm, she grew it from zero to six figures in less than three years, completely from scratch. In 2014 Kristin transitioned full time into training and coaching, where she now helps independent financial advisors to grow their firms.