When the Going Gets Tough

The market environment is a huge opportunity for all of us. Let's meet this adversity head on. Another bear market? So what? We knew it was coming at some point, right? So why the bellyaching? Sure, it is painful to listen to the so-called gurus say we are heading lower. However, many of those gurus are the same people who said the market was going a lot higher when we were at record levels. We can't

The market environment is a huge opportunity for all of us. Let's meet this adversity head on.

Another bear market? So what? We knew it was coming at some point, right? So why the bellyaching?

Sure, it is painful to listen to the so-called gurus say we are heading lower. However, many of those gurus are the same people who said the market was going a lot higher when we were at record levels.

We can't control the markets, but we can control the type of service we give our clients during these tough times. We can also control how much prospecting we do. Yes, prospecting.

Most advisers act like deer in headlights during difficult market environments. It is human nature not to want to talk with clients when their investments are dropping in value. We often become afraid and shy when facing adversity.

However, now is exactly the time to be more vocal and visible. We need to pick up the phone or get out and meet people to seize this opportunity. Don't ever forget that there are hundreds of thousands of investors who are looking for help. For this reason alone, we should be doing seminars, sending direct mail or launching a campaign to get our name in front of investors. Winners don't look for handouts. Winners look for opportunities.

The market environment is a huge opportunity for all of us. Let's meet this adversity head on. I am convinced we will look back on these times and wish we had served our clients better and prospected more. I am not going to make the mistake I did as a rookie broker when I was a deer in headlights. I am out there telling my story to as many people who will listen, while at the same time making sure my clients are contacted frequently via phone, mail, faxes and e-mail. Our clients want, need and deserve to be contacted.

Top producers are successful because they overcome adversity and learn from it. They don't wait around for someone to clear the way. They don't stand around feeling sorry for themselves.

Problems and tough times are an inevitable part of any business, and ours is no exception. I often reflect on words from Norman Vincent Peale, the author of “The Power of Positive Thinking.” He says, “Failure and setbacks will never beat us if our determination is strong enough to succeed.”

Mediocrity is easy. Excellence is painful. Excellence comes from doing what others don't do. Most advisers are not prospecting now or talking with clients. Don't make this mistake.

As I have said many times in this column, ours is a very simple business. It is not easy, but it is indeed simple. We encounter tremendous ups and downs on our quest to be the best we can be. Those who handle the down times, those who persevere and those who keep believing in themselves will be the winners at the end.

Adopt the attitude of those fabled New York Mets of 1969 or the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. Simply believe in yourself. Believe you are the best, that your company is the best, then sell from your heart! And truly care about your most important asset — your clients.

Harry Pappas Jr. is a senior vice president at a major firm in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., one of Registered Representative's Outstanding Brokers and the author of the manual “Selling From the Heart.”

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