Ask any financial advisor how many emails he or she gets on a given day, and the answer will likely be in the hundreds. Those who achieve “Inbox Zero” are a rare and mysterious breed, eyed with disbelief and skepticism. There’s little argument, though, that email is not an extremely important tool in a financial advisor’s day. While many industries may see much more of an ROI from various social media marketing platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, email still tops the list for financial advisors.
So, it’s important to get it right.
Financial advisors typically receive emails from three distinct groups:
- Team members
- Newsletters from the plethora of distribution lists to which they’re subscribed.
- Oh, and spam, of course (no one is spared!).
“Emailing” (reading and responding to emails) has now become a dedicated part of many advisors’ days. Some even “block off time” on their calendars to make sure they see and respond to (if applicable) every email that comes into their inbox. When so much of your time is spent emailing, how much time is left to get actual work done?
Here are some pointers to lighten the inbox load and perhaps even achieve that coveted “Inbox Zero.”
5 Email Productivity Hacks for Financial Advisors
Utilize Inbox Rules.Whether you use Outlook, Gmail, or some other email service provider, utilize their sorting capabilities to their fullest potential. For example, you can set up rules to identify and label emails as high priority, low priority, requests needing follow-up, educational newsletters not requiring a response, internal back-and-forth, etc. Ever heard of “Do it, Delegate it, Defer it?” This phrase can also be a quick way to organize your inbox and get on with your day quicker.
Do Not Multitask. It doesn’t do anyone any good. If a client emails you with a quick question or an involved request, it needs 100% of your attention. You will never regret triple-checking a client email. Which brings us to our next email productivity hack…
Establish a Routine. Once you have your inbox rules in place, establish a routine to determine when you review each type of email during the day. Determine when you do your best thinking, and set aside a bit of time to type out your “requires a response” emails during that period. Not to mention, if you are always responding to emails as they come in, you’re setting the precedent that a) you will always respond that quickly (and when you don’t, unwarranted flags could be raised) and b) what you’re doing for clients really doesn’t take all that much time. Put your client cap on for a moment and ask, from their perspective, “If they can answer all my questions in two minutes, why am I paying them as much as I am? What they’re doing must be simple.”
Employ Email Efficiency Tools. Let’s face it: We’re so predictable that our email clients (or easy plug-ins) know what we’re going to say. Why don’t we put these tools to work? Let them finish our sentences so our email text can catch up with our thoughts.
Sync Your To-Do List. If your email client and to-do list app aren’t already synced, it’s definitely worth it to take this step. Think of how much time you’ll save simply pressing a button vs. copying a thought from your emails to your to-do list.
Our goal at AdvicePeriod is to enable our Partner Advisors to do what they do best (and what they’d rather be doing anyway): better serve their clients and grow their businesses. Getting trapped in your email inbox is no way to grow your book. We’re hoping these hacks will aid in breaking you away from the e-shackles and help put you on the path toward independence.