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Starting Fresh for 2010

Atlanta: “I want you to emphasize the importance of everyone developing a winning attitude,” said Gerald during our pre-event breakfast meeting. “I want everyone focused on goals that are directly related to their result area.”

Atlanta: “I want you to emphasize the importance of everyone developing a winning attitude,” said Gerald during our pre-event breakfast meeting. “I want everyone focused on goals that are directly related to their result area.”

This was not a typical pre-event meeting, nor was this a typical event. Gerald is a New World Advisor who is leading an elite financial team. The event: his team’s annual two-day retreat.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve been personally coaching Gerald and his team for the past four years. I helped create the agenda for his last three annual retreats, and facilitated the last two—both of which were held at a health spa about 50 miles outside of the city.

Regardless of your current level of production, whether you’re on a team or going solo, there is a lot to be learned from Gerald and his team. Yes, they are very successful. Year-to-date through mid November, they brought in $194 million of new money and currently manage just over $1 billion of discretionary assets. Yet Gerald is concerned about everyone maintaining a winning attitude and remaining goal focused.

Why? Despite what his team has been able to accomplish, Gerald recognizes that this has been a tiring year. Everyone worked both hard and smart to strengthen client relationships and support Gerald’s rainmaking efforts. He knows that if his team is going to achieve his five year goal of accumulating $2 billion of discretionary assets, everyone—including himself—will have to continue their growth curve. This requires recharging batteries and personal commitments.

So let’s take a look at a few of the numerous takeaways that can be applied. First of all, in your own way you’ll want to replicate this annual retreat. This doesn’t mean you need to go to a resort, but you do need to get off-site and take a serious look at this past year and prepare for 2010.

If a New World Advisor like Gerald isn’t taking this “attitude” thing for granted, neither should you. The following are three questions I asked. They can be applied to virtually any situation and are by no means isolated to financial advisors. Approached openly and honestly, they are very effective.

What does a “winning attitude” mean to you?

This prompted a lively discussion that I documented on a flip chart. So, think about it, discuss it with your team (assistant) and write out all the ideas that make sense. After you’ve exhausted your thoughts on this topic, ask the following:

Why is a “winning attitude” so elusive?

Another discussion should ensue. Gerald’s group concluded that it is probably taken for granted, never really a priority. This also means that nobody really knows how to teach or coach it. Which leads to my final question on the topic:

What can you do to insure that you bring a “winning attitude” to the office every day?

Now it becomes personal. At the retreat ideas flowed freely, but the common thread was that everyone agreed to make it a personal priority. Reading something stimulating at night rather than watching the news, avoiding negative people, and so on. It was unanimous: all agreed that they could do a better job of controlling their attitude. Can you?

Once everyone got on the same attitudinal page, which was quite easy because Gerald is such an effective team leader, he wanted me to get everyone thinking about goals directly related to results. In other words, everybody had to raise the bar and establish tangible measurements within their area of responsibility.

For instance, the person responsible for financial planning was going to create a one-sheet checklist to make certain that more personal (Surprise and Delight) information was uncovered about each client and establish a connection from their centers-of-influence. Gerald was to source a name a day, attend two social events a week, and work on refining his sales skills.

How about you? What are your goals? If you’re serious about generating new business within the world of affluent investors, you’d probably want to review your deliverables, making certain that you are providing comprehensive wealth management. In lock-step, you will also want to make certain you are engaged in high-impact rainmaking activities every day, such as sourcing a name a day.

The idea is to be very specific about the goals you set for yourself and the results you seek. If you’re the planner you will want to make certain that you are fully monetizing every client relationship, in addition to uncovering more useful information to both strengthen loyalty and penetrate their centers-of-influence. If you’re responsible for business development (rainmaking) you work on your rainmaking skills and execute a high-impact activity every working day.

All of this is simple; you need to have an honest self-assessment and set goals accordingly. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It is extremely difficult to establish clear goals in an area that forces you to improve. Why? Because it requires that you work on an area you’ve been avoiding. Let’s plan on making 2010 the year of a winning attitude, driving high performance.

If you are interested in understanding what makes an advisor a New World Advisor like Gerald view our FREE New World Advisor Video. You must ensure that you are meeting the expectations of today's affluent and positioning yourself for the opportunities that abound through 2010.

Once again, we want to thank all of you who have emailed comments and questions to us. We will continue to do our best to answer each one.

If you have any topic suggestions or special requests, please contact Rich Santos, publisher of Registered Rep. and Trust & Estates magazines, at [email protected].

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