The Making of the Complacent Agent or Advisor

7. The complacent advisor doesn’t attend office meetings. They have stopped learning. They might pop in for lunch and leave when they are finished eating. Sometimes they bring their food back to their desk. They work at the firm, but don’t consider themselves part of the office.

8. The complacent advisor doesn’t participate in office initiatives. This aligns with not attending meetings. The firm might think showing clients a new product or addressing a specific need aligns with the firm strategy and should be promoted. The complacent advisor continues to do business the way they always have done business.

9. The complacent advisor expects to get fed. They are on the lookout for reassigned accounts when another advisor retires or leaves. They play the seniority card. When they don’t get what they want, they complain that other advisors are getting fed.

How to Managers Interact with the Complacent Advisor?

Compensation for sales professionals is generally structured where the agent or advisor receives a portion of the revenue they generate. The complacent advisor isn’t a cost, but they aren’t performing to their full potential or delivering the best client experience.

1. The manager leaves them alone. It’s like “Don’t ask, don’t tell” or “Let sleeping dogs lie.” They bring in revenue. They don’t make demands. Let them live in their own little world.

2. The sales manager is asked to light a fire under them. Eventually managers discover you get more results by directing resources and attention to up and coming advisors. Still, some are always fascinated by turnaround situations. Change rarely happens.

3. The manager talks about the firm’s retirement plan. Advisors realize trailing commissions come in regardless of much or little attention you give clients. Managers feel there’s missed opportunity. They tell them about ways they can be paid to transition out of the business. The firm often has a program.

4. The manager attempts to form a team around them. They suggest adding one or more newer advisors in a structure where revenue will be shared. The idea is the newer folks will show those clients products they might be interested in buying but hadn’t heard about. The complacent advisor often thinks this is an elaborate plan for their clients to become the team’s clients. They often don’t see the benefit and are resistant.

The bottom line is simple. The complacent advisor is coasting on a downward spiral as clients move or pass away. Those remaining are underserved. Their client base become fertile ground for competitors at other firms to lure away. Are you a complacent advisor? Of course not!


Bryce SandersBryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides high-net-worth client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor,” can be found on Amazon.

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