Year In Review: Six Steps For Transformational Growth
Over the past year, I’ve worked with about 100 financial advisors who are in my Sales Cycle Mastery program. Once a month, I meet with them in small, 10-person groups to hone their sales and practice management skills, with the goal of achieving transformational growth.
In the final class, we conduct a “Year in Review” to reflect on the advisors' results and conclude the program. I am so excited by the results.
Not only did many advisors report significant growth, but their feedback about what had the biggest impact on their business was invaluable. The answers I received were fairly universal from advisor to advisor, and the gift of their responses is what I’ll share with you below.
First, however, I want to start out with a small sample of results to give you a general idea of what they were able to accomplish and show what these actions can potentially do for you.
Having been in this business for nearly 30 years, I can tell you that these results are rare. It takes an unwavering commitment to hard work and continuous improvement.
It’s also worth mentioning that many advisors in this program did not experience any increase in production. Some even went backwards.
However, every one of them still felt that they had made tremendous progress and were confident that the numbers would reflect it going forward.
With this in mind, here are six steps that these advisors took to achieve transformational growth.
Step #1: Follow A System To Run Your Business
People don’t run businesses. Systems run businesses. People run systems. Put another way, you have to STOP winging it in your business.
For example, think about time management. Can you imagine a surgeon showing up to the hospital thinking, “Hmm... what should I work on today?” That would be absurd. Their day is planned down to the minute.
In order for you to maximize your performance, you’ll need a system for time management. You can see an example for time management here. But you’ll also need a system for prospecting, phoning, conducting your meetings and more.
Implementing systems to run their business, in a consistent manner in every segment of the sales cycle, was one of the biggest takeaways from advisors in my program. Once the system was in place, all they needed to do was get out of their own way and follow the system.
Step #2: Stop Mindlessly Working IN Your Business (Critical Think Time)
Most financial advisors are Type A personalities and are always running a thousand miles per hour. However, in order to experience true growth in your business, it’s imperative you take the time to work on your business, not always in it. I call this “Critical Think Time.”
Critical Think Time is all about setting aside time to think about your business and process an idea that you feel can give you substantial growth. This was covered more extensively in a recent post, and you can click here to learn more about Critical Think Time.
Step #3: Develop An Empowered Mindset
Have you ever been in a client meeting where you thought to yourself, “Let me feel this out and if everything goes right, maybe I’ll ask for a referral.” Then, when the time came to ask, all sorts of reasons popped into your head for why you shouldn’t ask for it, such as:
“The client would be doing me a favor”
“I don’t know enough yet.”
“I haven’t added value yet.”
These mental traps plague countless advisors, preventing them from reaching their full potential. You have to develop an empowered mindset to overcome it. With this mindset, your beliefs are that you operate from unwavering honesty and integrity, bring tremendous value simply in the questions you ask and provide a gift to people your clients care about by taking their referrals.
These beliefs cannot be faked – you have to believe them in every fiber of your being. When an advisor has these beliefs, you can see their back straighten, eye contact intensity increase, and their voice strengthen. It makes everything they do more effective and their job more fulfilling and enjoyable.
Step #4 Become Comfortable With The Uncomfortable
You can no longer do the things that got you to where you are today in order to reach your full potential in the future. Anytime you build a new system or begin a new process within your business, it will feel uncomfortable.
Think about how you felt the first day of school, when you started a new job or tried a new sport. You have to learn to embrace this uncomfortable, yet exciting feeling in order to achieve growth in your career.
Step #5 Slow Down To Grow Faster
Especially in today’s age, it’s important to find moments in your life to slow down. One example of this is the previously mentioned concept of “Critical Think Time.” Critical Think Time requires time away from working in your business, but the ideas that result from it can dramatically improve your efficiency, helping you grow faster.
Another example of slowing down to grow faster is in your fact finding, asking deeper questions in order to truly get to know your clients. Most advisors simply ask for basic financial numbers. They get a financial snapshot of their client, but they miss the story.
Truly understanding your clients takes additional time and energy. However, it can have a huge impact on the quality of relationships and help you create better referrals with greater ease. Click here for more on this example.
Step #6 Build Your Practice On Quality Vs. Quantity
When first building their practice, most advisors bring on as many clients as possible. However, as the business starts to grow, the focus must shift from quantity to quality.
While everyone’s practice is different, consider the example that the number of clients an advisor should have should max out at around 400. However, the quality of those clients should continuously grow. The average caliber of the individuals that come into your system continues to increase, while the individuals that no longer meet your minimum criteria are substituted out.
Under this method, your practice continues to grow in terms of enjoyment, fulfillment and revenue, but it doesn’t necessarily increase your work load.
The common thread that runs through these six steps is that they all involve running your business with a high level of intentionality. Taking time for critical thinking, developing systems for your business, developing your core beliefs; these are all things that are easily lost amid the daily shuffle.
But you should heed the wisdom of these financial reps who were able to make big leaps in a single year. These practices worked for them and, most importantly, are backed by proven results.