San Diego: “Where do I go for help?” asked Alex, a new advisor who attended one of our workshops and then continued, “I’m new to the business, I’m getting better, but I could still use the advice of someone who’s ‘been around the block’ a time or two. When I look around my office, most of the advisors aren’t bringing in business.”
The sad reality is that very few veteran advisors are capable of serving as mentors in today’s environment. They are not bringing in new affluent clients as they lack the requisite marketing discipline and the sales skills. The other reality is that a lack of industry role models is completely outside of your control.
We have always found it helpful to look beyond the world of financial services, finding a historical or famous role model. It could be a business icon, a political leader, a sports legend, or really any other top performer. Take Sam Walton for example. Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart (love it or hate it), is a phenomenal success story. His autobiography, Made in America, isn’t about financial services, selling to the affluent, or getting started as a new advisor, but it’s filled with practical advice from someone who’s achieved the highest level of success.
Whether it was Walton working night and day at his first little store, his aggressive in-store promotions, or flying his prop plane from store to store well into his golden years, there are plenty of life lessons for those of us looking to build our careers. Walton was truly a person who knew his strengths, saw an opportunity, and spent his every waking moment trying to make his dreams a reality. At this point, it’s time to ask yourself three critical questions:
1 – Who is your role model?
2 – What were the traits that made this person successful?
3 – What would he or she be doing as a new financial advisor?
Size of goals:
Passion for career:
If Sam Walton was transplanted into today’s environment as a twenty or thirty something, picked up by a financial firm, and told to bring in new clients – or else. What would he do? He’d look at this as a huge opportunity to land the accounts of the countless, jaded affluent investors in his area. You can be certain that he’d find a way to succeed in a big way.
As Walton wrote in Made in America, “…if I were a young man or woman starting out today with the same sorts of talent and energies and aspirations that I had fifty years ago, what would I do? … I feel pretty sure I would be selling something, and I expect it would be at the retail level, where I could relate directly to customers off the street. I think I’d study the retail field today and go into the business that offered the most promise for the least amount of money.”
Financial services, anyone? What provides more opportunity for less start-up?
The opportunity is there for those who want it bad enough. The first step is to get your head in the game. All too often, we’re looking for that magic secret from a top advisor, or that “how-to” book full of industry best practices, hoping that we’ll find the perfect answer for taking our careers to the next level. Rarely does this perfect answer exist.
If you haven’t already, pick a role model who is either doing the right activities and getting real-time results in today’s environment, or select your Sam Walton from history books. Then make a personal commitment to learn everything you can about them, identify some of their most admirable qualities, and work hard to live up to their benchmarks. They became successful for a reason, and more times than not, their habits are worth replicating.
Stephen Boswell and Kevin Nichols  are thought-leaders and coaches with The Oechsli Institute , a firm that does ongoing research  and coaching  for nearly every major financial services firm in the US. To take the first step towards coaching, complete the pre-coaching business profile  for a complimentary consultation.