The Financial Advisor Double A Rating

The Financial Advisor Double A Rating

Attitude and activity – both within ones complete control – which means that every financial advisor can develop a Double A Rating.

White Plains: “I don’t know why you’re writing about using videos to build trust when our firm doesn’t even trust us to use LinkedIn without onerous compliance guidelines!” growled Jerry for emphasis, then ending his rant with “It’s as though we’re dealing with a business hindrance department.”

How’s that for feedback following a keynote presentation at the close of a two day conference?  Ugh.  Fortunately not every financial advisor is as jaded as Jerry, but his comments led me to give him a brief lecture on what is often referred to as a “happiness and control theory,” which I like to explain using…


The Financial Advisor Double A Rating

There are two things that everyone can have direct control over; attitude and activity.  And as I explained to Jerry, they go hand-in-hand. 

With a better attitude, Jerry would have read my article on the surge in video communication thanks to YouTube (67% of Millennials claim they can find out how to do anything on YouTube).  Also, with an open mind, he would have followed my advice on how to get active; preparing himself for the time when video is an expected communication medium by all firms.  This is simply applying hockey great Wayne Gretzky’s talent for skating to where the puck is going to be.

But no, Jerry allowed himself to focus on his firm’s current social media compliance guidelines, something that’s totally outside of his control. The result, he was doing nothing but complaining.  Alas, the wrong attitude and no activity.

This attitude-activity relationship can be very insidious.  I had just finished compiling a few notes from my interaction with Jerry for this article and the following day I was conducting an Affluent Marketing Workshop where I encountered another version of Jerry.  In this case, the complaint was about a firm’s guidelines for holding small intimate “fun” events for clients and prospects.

In case you’re wondering, intimate “fun” events are the #1 event today’s affluent clients will attend and the #1 to which they will bring a guest (if particular individual has been identified) – in effect, they are the contemporary public seminar for today’s affluent.  As I explained all of this to the financial advisors in attendance and walked them through the simple steps of how to plan, invite, conduct, and follow-up on these fun events, I then organized “peer-to-peer” table discussions on the topic. 

The next thing I knew, one table was frantically waving for my attention.  As I knelt down next to the advisor who caught my eye, he asked me to listen to John’s (another advisor at the table) intimate “fun” event story…

“I had a doctor speaking about diet and cancer, foods to eat and to avoid, it was a big hit, but because I had a certain number of people attending, over the firm’s guidelines for a fun event, and because I had a speaker – I was taken to the woodshed for not having the event’s agenda and the speaker’s notes approved.  I had to get this doctor to outline his presentation – it was embarrassing!  I haven’t done one since.”

This advisor’s tale of woe was influencing the peer-to-peer discussion in a negative way.  Rather than discussing how to incorporate intimate “fun” events into their marketing plan, these advisors were listening to this advisor’s negative narrative.

After clarifying that I wasn’t aware of his firm’s policies, I asked if his event was successful.  With a big smile, he informed the table that he’d brought in nearly $5 million of new business from that event – and then went off on his firm again. 

Now everyone was listening with a different filter so I commented in a curious tone, for everyone to hear, “And you haven’t done an intimate event since!?”  His response was simply a sheepish look of guilt; he knew.  Again – attitude and activity. 

Okay, according to John his firm made it awkward (without knowing the details there’s no telling what really occurred) but $5 million in new assets speaks for itself. The new assets acquired should have been John’s primary focus, not his firm’s policies (outside of his control). 

My hope is that John, got the message and has recommitted to holding intimate “fun” events.  As I left the table all seven financial advisors were in a Double A mode – discussing how they were going to incorporate intimate “fun” events into their marketing plan.

Attitude and activity – both within ones complete control – which means that every financial advisor can develop a Double A Rating.  You don’t have to be on the dark side like Jerry or allow yourself to get derailed like John – just give yourself a daily affirmation; attitude and activity – I control both and you’ll soon earn a Double A Rating.



Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients.

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