Building a high-net-worth franchise in financial services is like building a championship baseball team: Your team will consist of a combination of free agents and new talent developed in your “farm system.” The team you’re building in this case is a sales force that can capture the ear of wealthy individuals, win their trust and confidence and perform on a consistent basis.
The free agents on your team ensure that you’re not building a business from scratch. A great deal of your job as manager of a high-net-worth franchise is to hire laterally from the best firms, acquire the very best talent, with the promise that you’re able to build their business and their compensation. You must always know your market and your territory. Keep your eye on existing talent, where they are, what they’re doing, and whether or not they’re happy in their current situation. The key free agents you are able to acquire are essential components of your staff.
The “farm system” is no less important. Although, as a manager, you must be continually aware of the high achievers among your competition, you also need to build your team from within. You can win one World Series with free agency, but you can win ten with a great farm system, augmented by a small number of key free agents.
Once the best talent has been acquired, the manager’s job is to deliver more and better resources to the sales team. These resources consist of leads, choice territories, meetings with stars in the field, and other perks that allow the sales team to be successful. In addition, the manager must have a grasp of the intangibles that mean the most to your sales people. Your job as the manager is to be an ego-less, tireless, advocate for your sales team. The members of your sales team are your customers. You work for them.
It is your job to figure out what drives your salespeople and then use those drivers to cause them to move in the right direction. Your capital as a manager in this field is your reputation. Your salespeople will watch carefully to see that you do what you say you’re going to do. Create a clear roadmap for success and reward the behaviors that lead down the right road and discourage the behaviors that do not.
Top salespeople are also like thoroughbred racehorses. They want to be stroked, they want to be fed, and they want special treatment. When they're not treated accordingly, they don't perform. It is your job to make them feel special, to honor the art of sales and to celebrate key victories. You must be like the horse-whisperer who knows exactly what to say to encourage the members of your sales team and when to say it.
Sales is the engine that drives any business, so success in building your high-net-worth franchise depends on your stable of winners. Treat them as customers – and establish a reputation for doing so – and you’re well on the way to establishing your franchise.