A Blog for Today’s Top Financial Advisors

Here’s How Elite Advisors Are Different from You – Episode 1

Key Takeaways:

  1. Focus on three outcomes—growing AUM, serving wealthier clients and living an amazing life of significance.
  2. There is a four-level hierarchy of advisor success that you can ascend by taking the right action steps.
  3. Collaborative relationships with centers of influence (COIs) help elite advisors consistently earn $1 million or more in net income annually.

The explosion in wealth in recent years means you have an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate your success, generate a much higher income and live a great life that’s supported by your business.

To capture that opportunity, you have to know where you are today and where you want to go—oh, and what it takes to close that gap. Specifically, it’s very useful to understand what top advisors do differently or better than their less successful peers.

Our experience researching and working directly with financial advisors for two decades has given us key insights into what separates elite wealth managers, who consistently make more than $1 million annually, from those advisors earning a few hundred thousand dollars a year.

We call it the hierarchy of advisor success. And if you want to build a top advisory practice—or even just do better than you’re currently doing—you need to know all about it.

Focus on outcomes

Success means different things to different people, of course. At CEG Worldwide, we evaluate advisor success based on outcomes in three areas:

1. Assets under management. More AUM generally means more income to fund what you want to achieve—in business and in life.

2. Clients. The ability to move upmarket and serve wealthier clients helps you differentiate yourself from competitors—which, in turn, leads to even more assets and even more income.

3. Significance. Are you in business simply to generate more business? No! You’re in business to support the quality of life you want—for yourself and loved ones, for your team, for your partners, and for others.

The hierarchy of advisor success

Based on these three factors, advisors typically find themselves in one of the four levels of advisor success:

1. Technician. These advisors tend to serve the mass affluent—clients with less than $1 million in investable assets. They generally earn net incomes of between $200,000 and $350,000 a year managing total assets ranging from $50 million to $100 million.

Technicians usually want to earn more money but are held back by fear and the lack of a clear path to that next level of success. They often assume that their knowledge of investment solutions will help differentiate them—and can’t understand why that knowledge doesn’t help them rise. The fact is, investments have become commoditized: An investment-centric approach no longer enables advisors to stand out from the pack.

2. Experimenter. These advisors have learned that an investment-centric focus holds them back. They have recognized that they have to deliver value beyond investments if they want to generate greater success.

As a result, Experimenters have started to move out of serving the mass affluent demographic into the lower levels of the affluent (clients with approximately $1 million to $5 million in investable assets) and are creating systems in their businesses to scale up. As a result, they are seeing net incomes of around $350,000 to $500,000.

Their big challenge: They are publicly successful but privately very stressed. Everything about them looks great from the outside, but they know they’re capable of so much more—and they aren’t sure how to turn that potential into reality.

3. Rainmaker. These advisors are systematically delivering a great experience helping affluent clients make smart decisions about a broad range of financial issues—including non-investment concerns such as estate planning and wealth protection. As a result, they tend to get a steady stream of referrals from those clients, who have essentially become marketing apostles for their advisors. Rainmakers usually raise their minimums as they become more selective about their client base.

The problem Rainmakers face: Their clients tend to refer laterally or downward—introducing them to prospective clients with similar (or lower) levels of wealth—thus making it harder to move up the pyramid. Unfortunately, this can cause Rainmakers to say things are “good enough” and miss out on truly enormous, potentially life-changing opportunities.

4. Elite. These advisors have netted more than $1 million a year for at least each of the past three years and are truly on top of the pyramid. Typically, they have AUM of $500 million or more and work with prequalified, pre-endorsed clients with at least $5 million in investable assets.

Perhaps most important: They also report living the lives they want—their businesses support lives of real meaning and significance.

The big difference among elite advisors: They go beyond client referrals by also generating new business through referrals from centers of influence (COIs)—such as top accountants and attorneys who also serve high-net-worth clients.

Elite advisors take action steps to create economic glue so that COIs on average increase their net income by 20 percent or more. COIs see how capable and trustworthy these advisors are. That prompts COIs to work with these advisors collaboratively—which leads to the advisors being introduced to the COIs’ top affluent clients.

Next steps

It’s time to ask yourself: Where on this hierarchy are you now, and where do you want to go? The opportunity to move up anywhere on the pyramid is yours. Accelerate your pathway to elite advisor status— Schedule your complimentary Strategy Session here.



To download a transcript of this episode, click here.

What we do and who we are

Partnering with you to accelerate your success is what we do.
Helping you build an amazing life of significance is who we are.

What we believe

We believe you can build an amazing life of significance by serving fewer, wealthier clients extremely well. We also believe you can do it faster and with less effort than you ever thought possible.