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If you don’t believe that your assistant is priceless to your business, then you probably hired the wrong assistant and should strongly consider finding a new one.
While that may sound a bit harsh, your assistant should be viewed as invaluable to your practice. Hands down, he or she is truly one of the most important keys to unlocking your ultimate business productivity.
So, how do you maximize your assistant to achieve your greatest productivity?
Simply put, you must view him or her as your partner. There are no two ways about it. Form a true partnership and always view them as your equal.
For them to be your partner, be sure they feel empowered. They need to really understand the significance of their role in your advisory practice.
Think about it. They are in many ways the real face of your office. They are likely one of the first people your clients and prospects see when they come into your office. They are likely the first person your clients and prospects talk to when they call the office. They are the first touch point of your firm’s client service experience. In other words, your assistant represents your advisory firm’s brand and profoundly impacts your clients’ and prospects’ impressions of your business.
Their personality is important. Are they friendly, upbeat, and positive? Does your assistant smile and make your clients feel comfortable when they walk into your office?
You should be sure that your assistant understands your brand. They should be able to articulate your vision, mission statement, and value proposition just like the other members of your team.
They should also have a very clear job description of the expectations you have of their daily duties and they should be held accountable for those responsibilities.
While it might be easier said than done, to really empower your assistant and forge a partnership with them, you must be able to give up control.
If you haven’t done so already, first and foremost give up control of your calendar. Let your assistant manage all of your appointments. Give your assistant complete control of your schedule. Give them ownership. However, b sure they clearly understand your most important priorities before you relinquish complete control.
Once they have control of your schedule and truly understand what is most important to you and your practice, they can prioritize your daily activities and, if necessary, override or even rearrange your planned day.
The best way to achieve this is to start each day by meeting with them for five to 15 minutes. The purpose of the meeting is to simply overview your schedule for that day and to talk about any issues and questions. Strong and open face-to-face communication with your assistant is crucial. While this meeting can take place on a phone call if necessary, it is most beneficial to meet live.
After you have given them control of your calendar, do the same with your emails. It is assumed that he or she is already the gatekeeper of the phones and is answering and prioritizing the incoming calls and voicemails. Take it to the next level and grant them the authority to filter and prioritize your emails so you don’t have to take precious time from your jam-packed schedule to do it.
Allow them to respond to your emails on your behalf. While it is not always appropriate for them to respond to all of your emails, it is certainly appropriate for them to respond to client and prospect meeting requests and lower priority emails that can take over your inbox.
The average office worker gets slammed with more than 120 emails a day. 1 Chances are, you receive even more than this average. While some of those emails do not require a response, it is a huge time drain to spend your valuable time responding to every email you receive. Empower your assistant to take this off of your plate. If there is ever an email they are unsure about responding to, coach them to talk to you about it prior to responding. This can be discussed in your daily face-to-face catch up meeting.
Delegation gives you a huge pay-off. By giving up control and delegating your schedule and emails, this gives you significantly more time to focus on your highest income-producing tasks and growing your business.
In other words, you focus on getting facetime with your clients and prospects and building strong relationships. It is no secret that stronger relationships lead to increased assets, as well as increased highly qualified referrals.
Ensure your assistant has a feeling of purpose and drive in their role. Employees typically leave a firm when they don’t have a sense of purpose and don’t feel appreciated.
Treat your assistant just like you treat your top clients. Show your appreciation. Don’t take them for granted. Connect with them the same way that you build connections with your clients. Get to know who they are, their family, and their interests. What drives them? What are their professional and personal goals and aspirations?
Invest in them. Incentivize them and pay them well. Encourage them to seek out and attend workshops and trainings that are geared toward financial advisor assistants. Mentor and coach them personally. Also invite them to attend firm events with you and your team. Don’t leave them out.
Remember to recognize their achievements and, most importantly, show them your gratitude.
The role of your assistant is vitally important to your practice.
Think about what your time is worth every hour of every day. By maximizing your assistant to handle the day-to-day issues of your firm, you can focus more on your highest incoming-producing activities.
Delegation is crucial. View your assistant as your partner and give them the power and confidence to be a top performer. You won’t regret it. Not even for a minute.
If you’re looking for the best practices to grow your practice, follow our Practice Management center.