6 strategies to increase advisor production

Leaders talk larger policies, new markets, better referrals and broader offerings.

6 strategies to increase advisor production

Leaders have a central role to play in helping their teams grow production, rise from sales plateaus and hone in on their own specialty. But increasing sales is nearly impossible without smart and effective tactics — whether that means a specific product focus, a new model for earning the right referrals or a narrower market focus.    

1. Target new markets  

Diana Cu, who leads a large team of 60 advisors in the Philippines, encourages them to look at a broader range of markets. She helps her advisors define a new market by analyzing demographics, trends and competitors.  

“I provide guidance on how to break into that market through tailored marketing strategies, networking tactics, and product or service offerings,” she said. “For example, if an advisor wants to tap into the growing market of millennial investors, I might suggest using social media platforms and offering digital financial planning tools to appeal to tech-savvy preferences.” 

Andrew Ang, ChFC, CIAM, a Singapore-based field leader, gives the example of broadening the market of an advisor interested in pursuing sustainable investments. “We could facilitate a thorough market analysis to identify trends, demographics and the competition, or offer tailored training sessions and resources,” he said. “This might include workshops on sustainable investing principles, networking events with industry experts and relevant marketing materials.”  

2. Pair coaching and professional development  

Jaslyn Ng, a Singapore-based financial services director managing six senior advisors, is proactive about encouraging advisors to understand that their activity, much more than unit or group management, grows production. 

“In other environments, professionals have a top-down experience of management because they are constantly under pressure to perform or because bonuses are tied to company performance,” Ng said. "I have changed that conversation toward a bottom-up culture. That means advisors must own their own goals. You are your own business entrepreneur. You look at your own profit and loss,” she said. “You need to know how your cash flow is. And in between being a business entrepreneur — you should be able to manage your own time.”  

Singapore has a complex and ever-evolving financial services regulatory landscape, which makes change management a core feature of agency life. That might sound like a burden, but it also creates an industry where advisors are usually not learning purely for learning’s sake. Field leaders seem to echo this, and they stress a need to approach both coaching and self-directed learning with a client-centric focus.   

“It’s important to have a regular coaching session, especially for the more experienced advisors, not just those in the first 90 days or even the first five years of this profession,” Tan said.  

“When we are client centric, learning has to be tailored toward targeted clientele for product training, and for the skill set that’s required for that audience,” Tan said. “That means learning has to help advisors keep up with the needs and regulations around a certain client base. We must stay knowledgeable by providing them with the right product, while not being overly product driven.”   

Ang shares a similar perspective and suggests leaders must help advisors maintain an open mind toward learning new ways to grow production. “If we can show them the possibilities — and get their buy-in — then it will be easier to work on ways to increase sales,” he said.   

3. Broaden advisors’ product offerings 

Others recommend deepening the product suite, too. Ng sits down with her most-experienced advisors to review their skill sets and see how she can help them offer products they haven't tried before.  

“For example, many newer financial consultants in their first two years would tend to focus on protection products and neglect wealth accumulation or retirement planning,” she said. “I ask them to rethink how they can reach new market needs, like retirement planning. Once they are aligned with the idea, I share relevant courses with them that they need to close the skill gap.” 

4. Build a referral engine with relationships 

Referrals stand out as a key tactic. Leaders acknowledge they are central to greater production, and they stress that referrals should not be left to the whims of clients. “The key thing in our business is building relationships,” said Tricia Tan, a Singapore-based senior financial services director with a team of more than 50 advisors.  

“My focus is engaging my agency and consultants in activities that allow them to network and build relationships with their clients,” she said. “This creates more opportunities for us to be getting referred all the time. We plan seminars on a monthly and quarterly basis, where we’re having a mix of our newly acquired prospects and clients meet up and enjoy appreciation events.”  

Ng believes the quality of relationships built over a long period is why her experienced advisors grow sales predominantly from a referral base. “People will only recommend you when you're good at what you do. For that to happen, it takes time for others to see the results.” 

5. Role-play valuable production scenarios 

Ng directs her advisors to lean on group role-playing to help advisors collectively work through difficult aspects of the production process. “Advisors role-play among themselves, and one colleague presents each week. A team member will speak up, and then everybody will evaluate her in a constructive way,” Ng said.  

She said advisors must get comfortable with the discomfort colleagues are pinpointing. “It’s good that we are doing this in a very safe environment, because my job as a field leader is to make sure advisors get the critique they need before they are in that situation with clients. When they go out, they are 100% prepared,” she said. 

Crucially, Ng bases these role-play exercises on live case studies. That could mean navigating a client’s complex protection needs, their varied financial obligations or misunderstandings about their current wealth management. “To me, if there is no case study to discuss, we are not meeting,” she said.  

6. Give advisors stretch goals 

Tan’s approach to stretch goals involves working with her whole team. “We design thinking programs where we all come together and think of the activities, knowledge and learning requirements we need to hit our stretch goals,” she said. “My emphasis to my managers, and my own advisor team, has always been to stay relevant in keeping up the growth year-on-year across the past 35 years,” she said. 

In the Philippines, Cu keeps the big picture in mind, too. She believes it’s important to align agency and unit production goals with those of the team. At the end of every advisor’s first year under her supervision, Cu holds one-on-one meetings to define individual goals.  

“I never tell them, ‘This is our goal; you have to hit this.’” Instead, Cu asks about their goals and then considers how she can help them achieve those goals. If they have a target for increased production or income, Cu works with the advisor to outline what their activities should be or the clients they should focus on.”  

During these goal discussions, Cu weaves in her broader team vision. “Often, I’m able to explain how their goals can contribute to our team goals, branch goals and even goals set at the company level.”   

Luke O’Neill is a Sydney-based writer and content strategist. He writes about B2B fintech and financial services for brands, publishers, and agencies. He owns Genuine Communications. 

Contact: Tricia Tan, triciatan@pruadviser.com.sg 

Jaslyn Ng,  jaslynng@pruadviser.com.sg 

Diana Cu, plukdianaricarrocu@gmail.com 

Andrew Ang, angchoonher@gmail.com