7 Keys to a Great Advisor Onboarding Experience in a Bank or Credit Union
Author: Mark Hoaglin, National Sales Manager, CFS/SPF
You have worked hard to recruit and hire a qualified financial advisor for your bank or credit union investment program, only to have the new hire leave after just a few months. The reason she gave was “for a better opportunity.” The reality is it probably wasn’t for a better “opportunity,” but rather for a better “experience.” I have recruited hundreds of financial advisors over the course of my career. I have made just about every hiring mistake possible; and, fortunately I have learned from those mistakes along the way.
One thing I learned is that you can’t assume that just because your new hire has selling experience and a successful production track record, that he will hit the ground running and find a way to successfully fit into the new position and new culture. You, as his new manager, have to own the onboarding experience.
Here are 7 keys to ensure that you will create a positive onboarding experience, providing your new hire with every opportunity to succeed for the long term.
1. Develop an onboarding checklist and use it. Without a map you’ll end up anywhere and the same holds true for onboarding. You don’t want to “wing it” here. Create a week by week checklist for the first 12 weeks. That should be your target. You need all of the ammunition available to help you make your “make or break” decision by their 90 day employment anniversary. Your checklist should include operations training, branch staff integration activities, working the book of business expectations, client management process, sales activity expectations, as well as, tools for gauging the effectiveness of their sales process. Winners love scorecards! You need a scorecard for onboarding, so make sure you have one, and remember to use it every day.
2. Be there day 1. Don’t delegate your presence to greet your new advisor on the first day. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is. First impressions are lasting, and it’s no different in our business. Be there day 1 to greet your new hire and take her around to meet the key players in her success. If possible, this would include everyone from the President of the bank or credit union to the tellers with whom she will be working.
3. Own Your Sales Process. As I stated earlier, just because your new hire has a decent track record of producing, doesn’t mean she has an effective sales process. Have a standard sales process that you own and require your team to use. Even million dollar producers need coaching in this area. The best athletes are always looking for a competitive edge and a way to overcome bad habits, and so should we. Make assessing the new hire’s sales process part of the interviewing process. Once they are on board, drill down on it during the first 90 days. Make sure that they are selling the way you want them to sell. No exceptions.
4. Adhere to the business plan. Every advisor needs a business plan; and, it is especially critical for the new hire. Have at least a 12 month plan that starts with revenue and invested dollar expectations and is supported by product mix, activity expectations and leads that are expected from those activities. Track the results, making sure they match what is in the plan. If it is worth stating in the plan, then it is worth doing. It is critical that you hold the new hire accountable to what is outlined in the plan.
5. Communicate Daily – A new hire’s “temperature” can change daily. It’s important to check in, not only to make sure things are getting done, but also to check in on how the experience is unfolding. You can catch any small issues that may turn into large ones if, you communicate daily…by telephone!
6. Coach Weekly – Set up a dedicated day each week to focus on 1-2 key sales practices that are going well to build on, or that need your expertise to help them improve. Set the expectation that this is how your relationship will be going forward. You are the coach!
7. Own the New Hire's Success – When I was a sales manager, I always took a new hire’s failure personally. I made the hiring decision; and, I had to own their eventual success or failure. You can’t blame anyone else.
You are making an investment when you hire a new advisor. His/her success won’t happen on its own, regardless of how good he/she was in the recruiting process. Assuming you have selected the best candidate, the real work begins in the onboarding process. Follow these seven keys and if you have indeed hired the right person, your new advisor will enjoy a long and prosperous tenure with your organization.