Houston: “I’ve stopped making New Year’s resolutions a long time ago,” mused Allan following a Financial Advisor New Year’s Resolution speech I’d just delivered. “It became meaningless,” he continued, “it became a mundane task, and not a true commitment.”
In many ways I could relate to Allan’s sentiments. Why make New Year’s resolutions that will never be kept? It’s the old adage best intentions and two bucks will get you a cup of coffee. To that end, February can be a demotivating month. Whether it’s slipping off your diet, distancing yourself from your exercise program, or falling off your affluent marketing plan – you’re back to the old you.
The reasons why so many people fail to realize their best intentions each year has been debated by psychologists for as long as New Year’s resolutions have been made. But the one common theme each failure has is a lack of intrinsic motivation. In other words, “Sure, I’d love to get in shape – I’ll give it a shot and see hat happens.” Hardly an ironclad commitment.
I asked Allan if he really, really wanted to acquire more affluent clients. He didn’t hesitate, “Absolutely! I need more affluent clients.” was his immediate response. Now, as a coach I had the essential ingredient for a serious 2014 Rainmaker’s goal – a strong desire for more affluent clients.
However, most advisors have this desire and truly need more affluent clients, but are unable to transform this into a reality. Why? Much like Allan’s sort of generic statement of “I need more affluent clients” so many of these affluent marketing goals, whether they’re framed as a New Year’s resolution or not, are more akin to that vague pipe-dream that would be wonderful if it ever happened.
The following are 3 steps we use when coaching financial advisors into developing success habits. I suggested that Allan embrace (not try) these steps, and frame it around developing an ironclad financial advisor resolution – his 2014 Rainmaker goal.
Step 1. Be specific. What was his definition of an affluent client? How many of these affluent clients would he ideally like to acquire during the course of the year?
- Allan determined that $250,000 in income and/or $1 million investable assets defined his affluent client.
- He committed to acquiring 10 new affluent clients fitting this description.
Step 2. Create a feasible routine. If you’re trying to incorporate exercise into your daily routine but aren’t a morning person, don’t commit to walking 45 minutes at 5 AM. It’s not likely to become a routine, whereas walking for 45 minutes during your lunch break is far more likely. For Allan, who says he prefers spending evenings at home with his family rather than socialize in affluent circles, he shouldn’t commit any evening marketing activities. But sourcing 3 names a week from his top clients and arranging personal introductions over lunch would be doable.
- Allan committed to sourcing three names a week.
- He also determined that introductions over lunch were doable.
Step 3. Reward activity. Whether it’s exercise, dieting, or acquiring new affluent clients, there’s a tendency to focus on results. How much weight did I lose? How many new affluent clients have I acquired? This results-only focus has derailed many good intentions. The secret is to focus on the activity. Assuming you’re doing the right activity, walking to lose weight, getting personally introduced to an affluent prospect. On a weekly basis, when activities are completed as planned – it’s time for your reward; go to the movies, go out to dinner, etc.
Allan was brilliant in this reward step, he involved his children. His message to them would be simple; “If I do a good job at work throughout the week, I’m bringing pizza for dinner Friday night.” Just like that, he knew his kids would hold him accountable.
Only time will tell if Allan possesses the intrinsic motivation to execute his affluent marketing plan. If he does, whether or not he refers to this as his New Year’s resolution, these three steps will develop into his personal ironclad financial advisor resolution and ultimately become success habits.
I’d love to hear about the Ironclad Financial Advisor Resolution or any success habits you’re developing -- linked to a 2014 goal.
The Oechsli Institute  does ongoing research and coaching  for nearly every major financial services firm in the US. To take the first step towards coaching with The Oechsli Institute, complete the pre-coaching business profile  for a complimentary consultation.