The Raymond James national conference held in National Harbor, Md., May 19-22, 2014, had four days jam-packed with great advice. Here are 10 highlights worth soaking in.

1. Mountain Climbing

Randy Carver, a Raymond James branch manager in Mentor, Ohio, explained that to be successful one must first identify the mountain to climb and then plan the route to take.

He told a story of a plane crash on March 29, 1989, in which he sustained serious injuries. For a year, he could not speak. For him, it made it clear how important a good team is. He asked the crowd, “Does your team know what they have to do?”

He admits his company was just spinning its wheels. He found his staff was burnt out and the organization had no clarity of mission. They made changes, including getting a backhoe to knock down their unappealing office and then constructing a much more impressive building.

Looking back at the reasons for their success, he recommended advisors move to a reoccurring revenue model to better focus on the client relationships. For prospecting, they do two types of events: topics that are financial service related, like estate planning and Social Security, and topics that are purely social, on telling good stories, for example, or on how to use an iPad.

Recapping how he set a goal, built a plan and became a success, he simplified his climb, recommending, “Build a team, go fee-based and do some events.”