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How to Increase Firm Productivity by Leaning into Your Advisor DNA

03.19.21 | David DeCelle | 0 Scale post img

Summary: Do you dread any aspects of running your business? Every advisor has a list of tasks that they would rather not do. The good news is that you can grow your practice by leaning into the activities you enjoy most. Learn how to increase firm productivity by leaning into your strong suit!

What do you like least about your business?

Let’s be honest. Some advisors dislike looking for prospects but love to provide a fantastic client experience. Others prefer the hunt but hate the routine of follow-up tasks. Some enjoy working with existing clients and turning them into raving fans — others would rather invest their time into building out the infrastructure for efficiency and scale. 

Some consultants and coaches will tell you that you have to love all parts of your business, and if you don’t, then you are in the wrong business. I don’t believe that to be true. I have worked with hundreds of advisors, and I am here to tell you that it is perfectly normal to not enjoy certain aspects of your day at work.

True, there will be tasks that are not your favorite. The key is to know your strengths and what aspects of your business you enjoy the most. Then, you can rearrange your team or bring on more members. A task that’s an energy drain for you may give energy to someone else!

This is an important concept, especially for advisors who are managing a team. To be an effective manager, you must begin by understanding your own strengths and blind spots, and then do the same for each team member. By assigning people the responsibilities that match their strengths, firm productivity and advisor satisfaction will increase.

One question remains, however: How do you arrange your team for optimal productivity? To answer, you must understand your “Advisor DNA” or your dominant advisor archetype.

Increase Firm Productivity with Advisor DNA Archetypes

The Advisor DNA methodology from the Model FA distinguishes between four advisor archetypes: Connector, Rainmaker, Guardian, and Architect. Each type has specific strengths and blind spots that makes it uniquely suited for different tasks. Most advisors have one dominant Advisor DNA archetype, with other characteristics present to a lesser extent. 

Think of it this way: If I asked you to pick up a pen and write your name, you would probably have no trouble getting it done — and you would naturally use your dominant hand for the task. You could do the same with the other hand, but it would take more concentration (and the result would look less practiced). The same idea applies to Advisor DNA. It takes less energy to lean on our strengths, yet we can also access other, less dominant parts of our personality, if needed. 

Understanding these archetypes and knowing which ones fit each of your team members makes it easy to optimize their roles.

Here are the four Advisor DNA archetypes. We’ll explore their strengths, weaknesses, and what types of roles suit them best in a firm.

Connector DNA

Connectors are the natural business development people. They are excellent at finding prospects, building trust, and getting people to like them.

Connectors are fantastic at “reading” people and understanding their needs almost intuitively. An advisor with Connector DNA will walk into a cocktail party where they only know the host — and 20 minutes later, they will be making introductions between a restaurant owner who is looking for a tax preparer and a CPA who specializes in helping local business owners. Connectors see their role as the conduit for creating possibilities and solving problems, and they do it naturally. 

Here are some traits found in a Connector:

  • Empathy
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Active listening
  • Connectedness
  • Relationship-building skills/relationship-oriented

Connectors have a superpower for building trust and relationships. Their blind spots may include a dislike for standardized workflows and procedures. They genuinely want to help, but when it comes to the technical aspects of the job and managing post-sale client service, it may be better to delegate those to another team member. 

Connectors also risk bringing on too many clients if they are not careful. In their desire to help everyone, that can risk straining the back office and harming profitability.

So, what does this mean for the optimal role inside a firm?

Connectors are a natural fit for business development. They should be out on the frontlines finding new prospects. You can leverage the Connector’s natural charisma and relationship-building skills to attract interested prospects. And by pairing them with Rainmakers — covered next — you can create a high-converting stream of quality leads for your firm.

Lastly, if Connectors are interested in cultivating influence, they should speak on podcasts and at live events. Both would allow a Connector to build trust and rapport, connect with the audience, and deepen those relationships after the event. 

Rainmaker DNA

Rainmakers are experts at strengthening the trust the Connector built, overcoming objections, and closing the sale. They are excellent at dealing with complexity, connecting the prospect’s pain points with the firm’s offer, and intentionally moving the prospect through the sale process. Rainmakers are resilient, comfortable with the conflict that’s inherent in the sale process, and always on the lookout for new opportunities. 

Here are some Rainmaker traits:

  • Resilience
  • Achievement motivation
  • Action orientation
  • Persuasive
  • Positive
  • Appetite for risk

Like Connectors, Rainmakers can sometimes struggle with structure and deadlines. Their comfort with conflict can lead to arguments for the sake of argument, creating a stressful environment in the office. Rainmakers can sometimes undervalue non-producing roles, and may even see themselves as superior because they bring a lot of business to the firm. This can lead to more tension between team members.

Placing a Rainmaker in the right position inside the firm can alleviate much of this concern. A busy Rainmaker in a lead advisor or business developer role would be able to channel his or her drive into the sales process. At the same time, it is important to help Rainmakers develop an appreciation for the tasks done by others on the team (serving clients, building and maintaining workflows, etc.) that ultimately enable the Rainmaker to live in their “Zone of Genius.”

Guardian DNA

Guardians are the quintessential financial planners and relationship managers. They provide dependable, proficient service to clients, turning clients into advocates for your firm and leading to referrals.

In short, they’re excellent at the technical side of the job.

Here are some Guardian traits:

  • Conscientiousness
  • Skepticism
  • Caution
  • Technical proficiency
  • Thoroughness
  • Service-oriented

What about the blind zones? Guardians can dislike marketing, sales, and the process of building systems and workflows. They enjoy working in the business — helping clients and doing the technical work behind the scenes. Sometimes, Guardians can take on too much work and burn out in an effort to fulfill every promise and meet every deadline. 

Guardians are so good at their job that it feels easy — and so they fall into thinking that “anyone could do it,” which can lead them to undervalue their talents. At the same time, they have a perfectionist streak, which makes it hard for them to submit work that’s “good enough” or delegate tasks to others.

With these strengths and blind spots in mind, Guardians thrive in the role of a relationship manager, turning new clients into raving fans. They can participate in the tail-end of the sales process, as well, when paired with a Rainmaker. In that setting, the Rainmaker does the selling, while the Guardian demonstrates their expertise and commitment to client service.

Architect DNA

Architects are the builders of the business. They enjoy designing workflows, hammering out processes, integrating new technology, turning ideas into concrete plans, and more. Architects are the people who scale your business by building out these systems, allowing you to take on more clients.

Here are some Architect traits:

  • Systems thinking
  • Future orientation
  • Innovation
  • Intellection
  • Technical acumen
  • Continuous education/learning

Architects can be more comfortable with the logical and systematic sides of the business than they are with people. Occasionally, their emphasis on systems and logic can cause them to spend excessive time tinkering with systems and processes to the point that can get impractical. It is important to help Architects connect with the humans who will use their systems. 

Architects can also struggle with relationship management and business development, as these tasks aren’t as logically-oriented.

That blend of strengths makes Architects naturally suited for the roles involved in building and maintaining your firm’s infrastructure. They could work well as a planner, portfolio manager, director of technology, operations director, or another technical role.

That said, Architects must become intentional about seeking feedback from other roles on how well their systems and processes work. Doing so keeps them grounded and focused on what helps the firm. 

What’s your Advisor DNA?

After reading the archetype traits and descriptions, one might have jumped out as an obvious fit for you. 

Personally, I know that my dominant archetype is Connector. I am most effective when I get to spend my day listening to advisors — and connecting them with the resources they need to live their best lives and build strong businesses. There still are parts of my job that I don’t enjoy as much, but for the most part, our team is structured to keep everyone in their “Zone of Genius” as much as possible. That did not happen overnight, but the effort was well worth it. 

When every member of your team is in the right seat, tasked with exactly the kind of work that gives them energy and that they naturally excel at, your firm will outperform and outgrow your wildest expectations. 

If you are curious about your team’s Advisor DNA makeup, you may be interested to know that we have developed an assessment for that. It takes 7 to 10 minutes, and each member of your team can walk away with a better understanding of their strengths and optimal role. Schedule a call with me to get started: https://modelfa.com/accelerator-call-cf/ 

David DeCelle

David DeCelle has been helping financial advisors take their business to the next level for 9 years. A financial advisor since 2011, David is committed to providing cutting-edge training, development, and accountability to growth-oriented advisors. When he’s not helping advisors grow their businesses, you can catch him working on his own development through podcasts, audiobooks, and working out. David loves being of service to others whether it’s professionally, lending a helping hand, or simply being an ear to listen to those around him.