I don’t want to jinx it, but it feels like in-person conferences are back and better than ever.
Advisors can finally get back to networking, learning new concepts, demoing new platforms … and jotting down pages and pages of best practices that they will never get around to implementing.
Let's be honest: most advisors jump right back on their proverbial hamster wheel when they get back to their offices post-conference. Most never look at their pages of notes again after getting off the plane!
I'm here to tell you: That's OK.
Sustainable practice management is about behavioral change, not content. Knowing what to listen FOR during a presentation or breakout (and how to identify personal development opportunities) is arguably more important than what you write down.
Below are my tips on how to make the most out of what you learn at a conference and implement the things that matter.
1. Identify How You Need to Evolve as a Leader and Advisor.
Specifically, advisors should make a list (mental or on paper) of the belief systems and behaviors that they need to shift and adjust, given what they've just learned. If you have a high sense of self-awareness and can do that quickly, your chances of taking steps to effectively implementing the idea are much higher.
Here is an example. Let's say you attend a breakout session on social media marketing. You are energized by the content and super excited.
Then, you get back to your office and feel completely paralyzed by all that you need to do. Perhaps you start to doubt your ability to be successful with social media, considering you're not a "big social media user" anyway.
My recommendation in this scenario is not to focus on the to-dos. Instead, reflect on what you learned about yourself and your practice after listening to the presentation. Maybe that list reads something like this:
- I realize that even though most of my clients are in their late 60's, that doesn't mean they don't care about me having a social media presence.
- I am going to stop saying that I am "not good at social media." Just because I don't prefer it as a mode of communication, does not mean I should not be using it as a core marketing tactic to create brand awareness.
- I want to put more content out there, but the thought of how to go about it paralyzes me. This would be a good opportunity for me to outsource completely so I don't waste time spinning my wheels and take time away from working with clients.
The more advisors build awareness of their strengths, weaknesses and what holds them back, the easier It becomes to make decisions about how to move forward.
2. Be Realistic About What Can Be Implemented Immediately.
Re-segmenting your entire book of business is not going to happen the week after you return from a conference. But signing up for Calendly (a calendar app that allows clients and prospects to schedule meetings with you directly during certain time frames) could happen immediately.
Identify low effort, high-impact ideas and start implementing at the conference. Something as simple as signing up for Calendly or updating your profile on LinkedIn, could and should be done immediately.
Larger initiatives and ideas should be shared with a key stakeholder—someone on your team, a coach, consultant, or local leader—who can help you filter and prioritize.
3. Focus on the Ideas that Impact Clients the Most.
If you struggle with prioritization more than implementation, consider what will add the most value to clients.
Tools or apps that can Improve the client experience and further validate your value proposition should be implemented first. Marketing initiatives that will add value to clients and improve their lives, also should receive the highest priority.
To help you prioritize, consider the things that clients have been sharing with you during recent meetings and conversations. Have they brought up charitable giving or wanting to have more impact with their money? Are they mentioning their stresses and frustrations around COVID and its impact on their children?
Reflect on what clients have brought up and use that information to inform the content you put out and the (virtual) events you host.
4. Share your Learnings Immediately with Key Stakeholders.
I recommend advisors start having an open dialogue with their clients about the practice they're building. Ask clients what they want to see, hear and experience from your practice. Share learnings and new ideas with them, talk to them about your vision, survey them around what they want.
When you develop a deep rapport with people and aren't afraid to be vulnerable, you end up finding that the answers to your questions lie with them and not you. Get into the habit of sending a summary to clients after every conference you attend with a quick poll on which ideas they like best.
Not only will this help you definitively decide what to focus on, but it will keep you accountable to implementing as well.
Penny Phillips is the co-founder and president of Journey Strategic Wealth.