The average advisor's day is jam packed with a litany of tasks including servicing client accounts, attending sales meetings, tracking the stock market and calling on sales leads. While these financial professionals are often well compensated for taking on this hectic lifestyle, the long hours and volume of duties are also a major reason why the burnout rate in the financial industry is so high. (For related reading, see Finding Your Place In The Financial Industry.)

TUTORIAL: Fundamental Analysis

To be clear, there's nothing that an advisor can do to eliminate these duties. In fact, the more successful an advisor becomes, the busier his or her schedule will be. Even so, by implementing better time management techniques, there is a way to reduce stress levels and to make the day more productive.

To that end, the following are some tips meant to help advisors better manage their workdays.

Be an Early Bird
What a broker or advisor does in the morning sets the tone for the day. That's why the most successful advisors wake up early and address personal issues before they come to work. They fix things around the house, make personal phone calls, have their morning coffee, get a haircut and take care of all of the little things that would otherwise distract them during the work day.

They also read, watch programs such as CNBC, peruse The Wall Street Journal or the Investor's Business Daily and make themselves aware of what's going on in the international markets and on the domestic front that could have an impact on the day's market action. Alternately, others might use this time to organize a call list so they'll know which clients they're going to phone throughout the day. (For related reading, check out Keeping Clients Through Good And Bad.)

In short, don't just roll out of bed and come to work. Be productive so that when you come into the office, you're ready to hit the ground running.

Use the Commute
Use your commute to your advantage. Read the latest issues of BusinessWeek, Forbes or Fortune, or listen to a cassette about becoming a better salesperson. Your local bookstore is full of them! Again, the key is to do something so that when you are at work, you can focus on garnering new clients and servicing existing ones.

Another idea: If you haven't already done so, plan your day. Figure out what amount of time you are going to dedicate to prospecting, to servicing existing client accounts and to furthering your education. Again, the more prep work you do now, the less stressed you'll be when you enter the office.

Make Contacts Early and Often
Some advisors fritter away their day, preferring to wait until the evening hours to contact their clients. This is often a mistake because when people get home from work, they're either too tired or too busy with personal matters to talk business. In fact, even if you do get a hold of them, they aren't going to stay on the phone any longer than they have to, much less listen to your long-winded sales pitch.

In addition, if you think about it, it's nearly impossible to fit in all of the calls that you need to make to be a successful advisor during the evening hours. It simply leaves too little time to build relationships, sell your products or talk to more than a handful of clients or prospects. (For related reading, see Targeting Ideal Customers.)

The solution: call clients at work. Many clients won't mind - after all, it's their money, they worked hard for it and they want to be reassured that their investments are in good hands. Your call will serve that purpose. So call early, and call often.

Make Time For Prospecting
Once a broker or advisor establishes a client base, he or she often neglects to prospect for other clients. This is also a mistake. For example, if you were to lose your top two or three accounts because someone died, moved or simply wanted to liquidate their securities holdings to buy real estate, you'd probably see your fee payments or commission runs drop dramatically, right? This is precisely why you need to prospect and to have a constant influx of new customers.

With that in mind, if you are so busy that no matter how you reformat your schedule you can't squeeze in prospecting, consider hiring a cold caller. In fact, if you are a top producer, your firm will probably be glad to provide you with one. If not, consider tapping an intern or a local college student to generate potential sales leads. (To learn more, see Cold Call Without Getting The Cold Shoulder and Alternatives To The Cold Call.)

Work Over Lunch
Brokers and advisors are notorious for taking long lunches. But instead of frequenting the local watering hole, consider reading during lunch. Better yet, use the time to exchange sales ideas with your co-workers, or to familiarize yourself with your firm's research reports. Yet, another idea is to kill two birds with one stone and meet a client or a prospective client over lunch.

Everyone needs to eat, but spending an hour or two away from the office every day will not only make you less productive, it may also have an adverse impact on your money line or commission run.

Look Alive Between Four and Five
When the stock exchange closes at 4pm EST most brokers and advisors get up from their desks, chat with their colleagues and generally pass time until 5:30 or 6pm when they start calling their clients at home.

This is a mistake. Use this hour to your advantage! Call on businesses before they close for the day, or call your clients before they go home from work for the day. Or simply review the day's trades and catch up on some paperwork. Again, many advisors waste this hour. Don't fall into this trap.

Work to Your Limit, Not Past It
Fit as much as you can into a day, but don't exceed your limits. While working late can make you money, it can also lead to burnout. To avoid this, a good method is to come up with a list of activities in the morning that should be completed during the day. Then, once that list is completed, go home! Spend time with your family. Relax. Remember, being an advisor is akin to running a marathon, not a sprint. So pace yourself.

Bottom Line
Being a broker or an advisor is tough work. In this field, time management skills aren't a luxury - they're a necessity in order to increase efficiency and to ultimately succeed.

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    Air Products and Chemicals: An Activist Investment Analysis (APD)

    Learn about the productive, and uncommonly friendly, activist investment made by Bill Ackman into Air Products and Chemicals.
  2. Stock Analysis

    Fortune Brands Home & Security: An Activist Investment Analysis (FBHS)

    Read about Bill Ackman's highly successful breakup of longtime holding company Fortune Brands in one of the most profitable examples of Wall Street activism.
  3. Stock Analysis

    Clorox: An Activist Investment Analysis (CLX)

    Read about the high-profile battle between The Clorox Company and billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, who had three offers repelled by the Clorox board.
  4. Stock Analysis

    McGraw Hill Financial: An Activist Investment Analysis (MHFI, MHE)

    Learn about the high-profile split between McGraw Hill Financial and McGraw Hill Education, and how a few activist investors changed the corporate landscape.
  5. Stock Analysis

    B/E Aerospace: An Activist Investment Analysis (BEAV)

    Find out how activist investment fund Relational Investors forced B/E Aerospace to split up, only to pull out after founder Ralph Whitworth was diagnosed with cancer.
  6. Stock Analysis

    State Street: An Activist Investment Analysis (STT)

    Read about the high-stakes showdown between State Street Corporation and activist Trian Fund Management, who felt shareholders were getting shorted.
  7. Stock Analysis

    eBay: An Activist Investment Analysis (EBAY)

    Find out how legendary investor Carl Icahn took on e-commerce giant eBay in 2014 in a battle that led to eBay separating from PayPal.
  8. Stock Analysis

    MSCI: An Activist Investment Analysis (MSCI)

    Read about the high-profile battle between the management team for Morgan Stanley Capital International and activist MSCI shareholder ValueAct.
  9. Stock Analysis

    Hartford Financial Services: An Activist Investment Analysis (HIG)

    Read about the famous and profitable 2012 clash between activist hedge fund manager John Paulson and Hartford Financial Services Group.
  10. Stock Analysis

    Microsoft: An Activist Investment Analysis (MSFT)

    Find out how hedge fund ValueAct Capital managed to turn a 0.8% position in Microsoft stock into a CEO change, a place on the board of directors and dividends.
RELATED FAQS
  1. How are joint ventures regulated in the United States?

    Joint ventures are a very specific type of business arrangement. They can be organized in several different legal structures, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How long does it take to execute an M&A deal?

    Even the simplest merger and acquisition (M&A) deals are challenging. It takes a lot for two previously independent enterprises ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do a corporation's shareholders influence its Board of Directors?

    The 21st century has seen a rapid increase in shareholder activism, such as the general awareness, involvement and influence ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What protections are in place for a whistleblower?

    Whistleblowers can play a critical role in ensuring the compliance, safety, honesty and legal fairness of governments and ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are some types of financial netting?

    Whenever two parties in any financial relationship square up or consolidate their accounts with one another, it is called ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Can I buy insurance to reduce unlimited liability in a partnership?

    Partnership insurance is actually quite common. Most of the time, partners buy insurance to safeguard against the possibility ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
  2. Ponzimonium

    After Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme was revealed, many new (smaller-scale) Ponzi schemers became exposed. Ponzimonium ...
  3. Quarterly Earnings Report

    A quarterly filing made by public companies to report their performance. Included in earnings reports are items such as net ...
  4. Dark Pool Liquidity

    The trading volume created by institutional orders that are unavailable to the public. The bulk of dark pool liquidity is ...
  5. Godfather Offer

    An irrefutable takeover offer made to a target company by an acquiring company. Typically, the acquisition price's premium ...
Trading Center