As one who makes a living in part by assisting other financial advisors, I’m always intrigued when I read a book on the issue of practice management.  I’m even more intrigued when the book is written by a vendor such as an FMO or TAMP.

The Advisor Breakthrough by Advisor Excel’s Shawn Sparks is a well-written collection of advice designed to motivate you toward achieving your goals by sharing the habits of other advisors.  Working for one of the largest FMO’s in the country, Mr. Sparks has access to a lot of producers, both large and small.

Sound advice includes the need to be a lifelong learner, developing a sales approach that is not product based, having a full understanding of your numbers, developing a targeted marketing plan, and having a stellar operations staff to support your efforts.  Overall I found it worth reading and would recommend others do likewise.  It’s free if you’re an Amazon Prime member.

What is lacking (which is no surprise) are the issues of profitability management, recurring revenue, and holistic planning.  Virtually every advisor featured in the book is one who hosts a myriad of dinner seminars with the goal of attracting one to two clients per.  Using only examples of annuity commissions, Mr. Sparks offers examples of how spending more money results in you making more money.  He even comments one advisor who increased his profit margin from 25% to 35%.  Thirty-five percent on $1 million of revenue.   Seriously?

My inspiration for creating Advisor Architect came after meeting producers with similar margins.  They earned a lot, but they had to spend a lot.  They worked like dogs to hit production goals, but in reality weren’t taking home any more than their neighbor who worked 35 hours a week and had zero overhead.

They all had largest staffs, maxed out credit cards, huge bills from restaurants and direct mail houses, and very little in their bank account.  There were not financial advisors.  They were salesmen.  In fact, none of those advisors described in Advisor Breakthrough can be described as holistic advisors.

There is more to running a business that doing dinner seminars and selling commission-based products, something vendors tend to ignore.  I do recommend the book…provided you understand the motivation behind the message.