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The Goal Setting Trinity

Greensboro: “How can my goals be any more important to me than they already are,” moaned Arnold, during the Q & A of our FastTrack for Growth workshop, adding final emphasis with “If I don’t hit my new assets targets I need to find a new career.”

We fully recognize Arnold’s dilemma, but if he’s not careful, like the majority of new advisors with similar goal requirements, he’s going to become a statistic – another failed rookie. As we roll into 2012, we understand that many people are setting all kinds of goals. If you want proof, visit any health club this week and return a month from now. The trouble is that most people don’t achieve the goals the set. Why? Most goals aren’t set properly, little attention is paid to executing the proper goal-driving activities, personal accountability isn’t strong enough, and little attention is paid to remaining motivated.

Starting a new year, we thought it might be helpful to share our Goal Setting Trinity with you. It’s three simple, yet powerful, tips for setting and getting goals. The idea is to transform your goals into the fabric of your DNA. They become who you are, your personal mission, and in Arnold’s case, as with many newer advisors, they are the essence of your future.

1. Set Goals that Maximize Your Achievement Drive (Personal Motivation)
The goals new advisors set have a tremendous impact on whether or not they achieve them. When goals are set properly, they light the internal fires of self-motivation and achievement drive. Whenever we set goals incorrectly, we are destined for failure. What’s the difference?

Research by David C. McClelland of Harvard and John W. Atkinson of The University of Michigan, found that our personal motivation is peaked when we set goals that we have a 50% probability of achieving. Most people don’t realize this critical fact.

For FastTrackers (new advisors) like Arnold, this means that new asset goals should be set high enough that by doing everything within your power, you’ve got a 50/50 chance of achieving your target in 2012. Let me share John’s story with you. With an LOS of one year, his training department set his new asset goal for year two at $7.5 million. Challenged by his coach, he raised his 2011 target to $15 million. This pulled him way outside of his comfort zone, it was a 50/50 stretch, and he knew that he had to execute everything his coach suggested to have a chance. But would he be a failure if he only brought in $10 million? Of course not.

2. Selecting the Right Activities
When we research elite new advisors, we find many similarities in the marketing activities they employ. The activities are simple, but not often used in the quantity needed to drive results. That’s why we recommend keeping strict metrics around these “bread and butter” activities on a weekly basis. The following is a sample list that John was coached to execute.

Weekly Activities to Track:
· Asking for the business – how often are you asking for the order? (this is the key to social prospecting)
· Introductions arranged – how often are you being introduced by friends, family and clients?
· Calls made – how many outbound calls are you making?
· New contacts – how many new people are you meeting?
· Functions attended – how many parties/events/functions are you attending?
· CPA/Attorney meetings set – how many attorneys and CPAs are you seeing face-to-face?
· Face to face meetings with clients (focus on building relationship and uncovering opportunities)

3. The Synergistic Goal Setting Exercise
The final component of this Goal Setting Trinity is an exercise we learned from Matt Oechsli -- it will ensure that you remain goal focused! The exercise is comprised of taking a spiral notebook, labeling it My Goal Book and doing the following:

· Tape a picture, a visual image, of something that personifies achieving your long range goals on the inside cover of your notebook. Many advisors get a picture of their dream house.
· Draft a few bullet points describing your five year goals; home, lifestyle, family, office size, team structure, etc.
· Write out your one year goals as a positive affirmation; I have $15 million of new assets, 20 new clients, earn XYZ, and enjoy my new BMW.
· Your final section is where you write your fixed daily activities, again as a positive affirmation; I arrange two personal introductions. I ask for and set two appointments for second opinion meetings. I ask for and get business from the three prospects I meet with today… and so on.

Your daily exercise is as follows:

1. Re-write your long range goals – bullet points.
2. Re-write your 2012 targets; as present tense positive affirmations.
3. Write out your specific activity commitments for the day; as present tense positive affirmations.
4. Look at the picture personifying achieving your long-range goals; look at your dream house taped inside your notebook.
5. Visualize (daydream) yourself successfully living everything you’ve just written, starting with your long range goals; living in your dream home on the golf-course, driving that new car after bringing in $15 million of new assets in 2012, and successfully executing all of your fixed daily activities.

This entire exercise takes about 10 to 15 minutes and virtually guarantees that your goals become part of your DNA. Of all the fixed daily activities, this is arguably the most important as it drives everything else. Even though John occasionally skipped this part of the Goal Setting Trinity, he did it enough to remain highly motivated. As for his 50/50 stretch goal of $15 million in new assets, he brought in $23 million! Granted, he’s a talented advisor, but now he understands the power of the Goal Setting Trinity and is targeting $40 million for 2012.

You must set goals that light your fire, that become embedded into your DNA. Whether or not you’re as talented as John, time will tell. But as we indicated earlier, you’re not a failure if you set a target of $15 million for 2012 and bring in $10 million. You’re only a failure if you fail to set 50/50 goals and infuse them into your DNA.

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